By Sophie van Leeuwen
On 5 June, about 150 Burundians organised a march in The Hague. Audifax Ndabitoreye (CNDD) was one of them. The Burundian opposition wants the ICC to investigate the ongoing violence in Burundi.
“I’ve come to The Hague to offer a dossier to the International Criminal Court. The ICC has a mandate to investigate the crimes against humanity that have been committed. I’ve asked to meet Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor. I am waiting for an invitation. The ICC must take this seriously.
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“It all started on the 4th of May. We blocked the road on November 28th. Our protest started early in the morning an lasted several hours. The president’s wife arrived in her car. She was on her way to the palace.
“I held a speech on a bridge, while we were burning tyres. The military started shooting live ammunition in our direction. Two people died. One of them was a boy of fifteen years old. Others were seriously wounded.
“The next day, a secret agent started following me. I went to an army colonel and said: ‘why do you want to kill me? We want peace. President Nkurunziza can’t go on like this. He has to give up his third mandate as president of Burundi.’
“All the media were there. My message was a slap in the face of our leaders. The next day I got arrested in a hotel. The police tried to take me by force. I started screaming: ‘I speak the truth! They killed innocent people. Murderers! Nothing works in this country!’
“In the end, I got in the police car. They forced me to lay on the ground while the car was driving 50 kilometres an hour. They tried to kick me. I screamed: ‘You don’t have the right! It was humiliating.’
“They let me go. But I continued to receive threats: ‘we know where you are. We are going to get you.’ I was scared. I changed houses every day so they couldn’t find me. I’ve received information they were going to kill me.
“The Dutch embassy helped me and my family get out of the country. I have a Burundian and a Dutch passport. We crossed the border in an embassy car. I met the Dutch ambassador in Rwanda and fled to the Netherlands.
“Many people have been killed since President Nkurunziza announced in April 2015 that he would run for a third term. We’ve experienced massacres in the past. No investigations have taken place, ever.
“In Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, there is no justice. Justice is a machine that serves those in power. They will do anything to stay in power. We fear more massacres.”