Museveni, Burundi and the perversity of immunité provisoire
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Oxford :Oxford University Press
The international journal of transitional justice. - Oxford, 2007, currens
, p. 516-526
University of Antwerp
To enhance the inclusiveness of Burundis political dialogue, Ugandan president and East African Community mediator Yoweri Museveni suggested granting temporary immunity to Burundian opponents living in exile, some of whom are wanted by the government for their participation in the May 2015 failed military coup attempt. While from a short-term 10 conflict-settlement perspective this is a valuable suggestion, an analysis of Burundis previous experience with temporary immunities reveals some longer-term perverse effects. First, temporary immunity turned out to be anything but temporary. Secondly, it created an incentive structure that discouraged Burundis elites from launching a transitional justice process. Thirdly, despite its initial purpose, it benefited both insurgents and incumbents. 15 Fourthly, temporary immunity offered more than mere immunity to its beneficiaries. Finally, it was a stepping stone towards long-lasting impunity for human rights atrocities. Unless lessons are learned from the past, there is reason to fear that the repeated and once more internationally legitimized use of temporary immunity reproduces the same perverse effects. Burundis past use of temporary immunity, an integral part of its larger 20 and initially seemingly successful experiment of peace without truth and accountability, thus casts a dark warning shadow over Musevenis proposal. KEYWORDS: Burundi, conflict, mediation, temporary immunity, impunity.