André (not his real name), married with four children, was a long-standing member of the National Liberation Front (FNL), an opposition party.
In 2010, a post-election crisis swept across the country, resulting in a deterioration of the safety of political opponents and a surge in extrajudicial executions.
That was when André began to be persecuted and threatened by the Burundian national police and intelligence services.
These intimidations amplified until 2012 when, fearing for his life, André was forced to go into hiding. Despite these precautions, that very year he fell into a trap set by an old friend and was abducted, tortured, and finally executed.
His decapitated body was found bearing signs of torture. His family did not get a chance to see his remains or even to organize a dignified funeral for him.
As soon as André’s death was announced, numerous NGOs mobilized to ensure that justice would be done.
The events also received widespread coverage in the media. Faced with this surge, the Burundian authorities responded by saying that an investigation had been launched.
To this day, however, the victim’s family was never heard, and no outcome has since been reported.
André’s family still lives in fear for their safety, because at any moment they could face retaliation from André’s executioners.
As the national justice system seems incapable of taking this case forward, TRIAL International and other NGOs have referred it to an international human rights body.
Among other things, the NGOs are demanding Burundi’s responsibility in André’s murder to be acknowledged and appropriate reparation to be awarded to the victim’s family, including compensation and rehabilitation measures.
The case is ongoing.