Burundi on Tuesday rejected the request by the facilitator in the inter-Burundian dialogue to grant immunity to suspects in the 2015 failed coup plot to allow them to participate in the talks.
President’s Spokesman Jean Karerwa said: “the facilitator in the inter-Burundian dialogue, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa sent a letter to Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on Feb. 27, requesting him to grant immunity to coup plotters so that they can participate in the inter-Burundian dialogue.
“The request is impossible because people sued by the judiciary cannot get immunity according to international regulations.”
According to him, Burundi should be considered like other countries as it is a country that respects international rules.
“The president of Burundi is not entitled to grant immunity or to pardon people who are sued by the judiciary. What he can do is to pardon people who have been already condemned.
“If he pardons such a kind of people, he will be accused of betraying the nation,” Karerwa said.
He indicated that Burundian people “do not have big problems” these days.
“In the letter sent back to the facilitator in the inter-Burundian dialogue, the president stated that Rwanda has rather been provoking Burundi,” Karerwa said.
He also indicated that the president requested the “repatriation of the talks” from the Tanzanian town of Arusha to Burundi because most participants in the talks are in Burundi.
The Burundian government boycotted the previous round of talks that took place by mid February in Arusha, Tanzania, arguing that it could not sit with what it called “coup plotters” on the same table.
Burundian Government Spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba said that invitations of participants to the talks were characterized by irregularities.
“Some of the invited participants are sued by the Burundian judiciary for their involvement in disrupting Burundi’s security,” Nzobonariba said.
The Burundian government was also against the denomination of some political parties invited in the talks, stressing that they are not political parties registered at the east African country’s home affairs ministry.
The other concern was the participation, in the talks, of Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General in Burundi, who was rejected by the Burundian government in December 2016.
Burundi plunged in a crisis since April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term in violation of the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement that ended a decade-long civil war.
No fewer than 500 people in Burundi have been killed and over 300,000 people fled to neighboring countries mostly Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda since the outbreak of the crisis.