The Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s first report on the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB). The Secretary-General’s Executive Representative for Burundi, Youssef Mahmoud, may also brief the Council. No formal action is expected, but a press statement is a possible outcome. BINUB’s mandate expires on 31 December.
Key Recent Developments
BINUB commenced work on 1 January. In a press statement on 21 December 2006, the Council stressed the office’s critical role during the peace consolidation phase. The Council noted that despite progress, many challenges remain, especially with regard to:
the rule of law;
human rights; and
the implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement.
BINUB replaced the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB), the peacekeeping mission whose mandate expired on 31 December 2006. Outstanding peace and security issues at that time involved delays with the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and the refusal of the Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) to join the ceasefire monitoring team. The AU Special Task Force, set up under the Ceasefire Agreement, will now provide security for returning FNL commanders and combatants. A South African battalion, previously deployed with ONUB, has remained under the AU force. Recently, South Africa approved an AU request to deploy an additional 1,100 troops.
Five of seven suspects (including former President Domitien Ndayizeye) arrested in August for allegedly planning to kill President Pierre Nkurunziza and overthrow the government, were acquitted in January. (There had been widespread international concern about the government’s handling of the alleged coup, in particular allegations of torture used to obtain confessions.)
The Peacebuilding Commission has started a series of informal thematic discussions to develop an integrated peacebuilding strategy for Burundi by mid-2007. The peacebuilding strategy would become the principal framework for Burundi’s relationship with the PBC, recording the commitments made by the parties and serving as a type of compact. It will provide benchmarks by which the PBC can monitor progress and identify peacebuilding gaps at the country level.
The discussions are open to relevant stakeholders (civil society, the private sector and international actors) and will focus on issues in the priority areas identified in the December country-specific meetings. The first thematic discussion for Burundi on 27 February focused on good governance.
A Burundi donors’ roundtable was held on 14-15 March in Bujumbura. The PBC’s next formal country-specific meeting on Burundi and its next visit to the country are expected to take place in April.
The main issue for the Council is that peace consolidation in Burundi continues to move forward. With the recent political changes and developments on the Ceasefire Agreement, it appears that progress is being made. Challenges remain, particularly in human rights, good governance, and the rule of law. The Council will watch developments closely, but in first instance will rely on the Peacebuilding Commission to address these issues.
Members will be looking to see whether BINUB is meeting benchmarks set out in the 14 August addendum to the Secretary-General’s June report. These include the implementation of the political and military aspects of the Ceasefire Agreement, the establishment of a human rights commission, and the creation of a comprehensive civilian disarmament program.
Council members agreed on BINUB’s mandate without much difficulty. Unless the situation deteriorates, Council members are likely to adopt a “hands-off” approach, particularly given the Council’s heavy agenda in April.
UN-Burundi negotiations to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Court Chamber have not moved beyond a preliminary stage since the Council made its request in resolution 1606 of June 2005, while challenges in the area of transitional justice and human rights violations appear to have increased.
|Selected Secretary-General’s Report|
|Other Selected Documents|
|Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of BINUB|
|Youssef Mahmoud (Tunisia)|
|Size and Composition of Mission (1 January 2007)|
|January 2007 to present|