Victim of torture in total impunity, Claude will keep scars for life

06.06.2016 ( Last modified: 01.02.2018 )

An active member of the opposition, Claude was taken from his home by law enforcement forces. That day will have drastic consequences on the rest of his life.

Accused of undermining State security, he was repeatedly beaten with truncheons and iron bars. The blows were so violent that he collapsed on the ground.

Claude was then threatened with death with the aim of getting him to “confess” to his fictitious involvement in armed groups, on the basis of which he was being prosecuted. The victim suffered irreparable injuries and to this day still suffers from severe psychological and physical scars.

Procedure

Supported by the United Nations locally, the victim made several attempts to obtain justice. After a month of fighting, these led to the opening of legal proceedings.

But these efforts were fruitless because, as the proceedings were transferred to another body, the file “disappeared” and was never found again. Claude’s trial for involvement in armed groups continued, however.

During a hearing, the victim – who had become the accused – once again reported the acts of torture that he had suffered, in vain. Three years after the events, the Burundian justice system did not show any willingness to shed light on the case.

As all the avenues of national remedy had been exhausted, TRIAL International brought the case before the United Nations.

The acts of torture were acknowledged by an international body, which demanded that Burundi award the victim reparations.