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President of Human Rights Council appoints new chairperson of Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

GENEVA (1 February 2018) - The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Vojislav Šuc (Slovenia), announced today the appointment of Mr. Doudou Diène (Senegal) to serve as a member and new chairperson of the Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

Mr. Diène, who has a distinguished career in human rights having previously served as Special Rapporteur on racism and racial discrimination and Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, will replace Fatsah Ouguergouz (Algeria) who announced in late November that he would not be in a position to serve on the Commission beyond 31 January 2018 for "personal reasons".  Ambassador Šuc extends his gratitude to Mr. Ouguergouz for his dedicated service in carrying out the tasks mandated by the Council.

As Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry, Mr. Diène will work with Francoise Hampson (United Kingdom) and Reine Alapini Gansu (Benin), who have been serving as members of the Commission since shortly after it was established in September 2016.  Ms. Gansu also announced that she would be stepping down as a member of the Commission in early March this year following her recent election as judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Commissioners, who serve in their personal capacities, are mandated to investigate human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015 with a view to contributing to the fight against impunity and identifying alleged perpetrators of such acts with a view to ensuring full accountability.

On 29 September 2017, the Council decided to renew the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry for a period of one year, asking it to present oral briefings at its 37th and 38th sessions in March and June 2018, respectively, and a final report at its 39th session in September this year.

Biographies of the Members of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

Doudou Diène (Senegal) was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance from 2002 to 2008 and the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire from 2011 to 2014. He is also a former member of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict. He is a former Director of the Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Division of UNESCO. He is currently a Member of the Board of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Mr. Diène holds a doctorate in public law from the University of Paris and a diploma in political science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris.

Reine Alapini Gansu (Benin) is lawyer to the Bar of Benin since 1986 and has been Law Teacher at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin) since 2000. Currently she is the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights (since 2012) of the African Union.  She has also been a member of the Commission of Human and People’s Rights since 2005 and a member of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration since July 2011. She was the laureate of the Prize of Human Rights for the fiftieth year of African Countries independence in 2010.  She also served as a member of the Human Rights Council-mandated International Commission of Inquiry on post-electoral violence in Cote d’Ivoire (May-June 2011). She holds two High Level University degrees, in Common Law at University of Lyon in 2007 (DU), and in Environmental Law and Politic at University of Lomé, Maastricht and Bhutan in 1999. She is author and co-author of research papers in human rights and in Law.

Francoise Hampson (United Kingdom) is Professor of International Law of Armed Conflicts and Human Rights at Essex University.  She served as an independent expert member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights from 1998-2007. She has litigated numerous cases before the European Court of Human Rights particularly concerning Turkey.  She has taught, researched and published widely in the fields of the law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law and on the European Convention on Human Rights.  For her work representing Turkish Kurds she was awarded the title of Human Rights Lawyer of the year in 1998.  She is currently working on autonomous weapons, investigations into alleged violations in situations of armed conflict and on the use of an individual petition system to address what are widespread or systematic human rights violations.

For information about the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIBurundi/Pages/CoIBurundi.aspx

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org, Cédric Sapey at +41 (0) 22 917 9751 / csapey@ohchr.org
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