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President of Human Rights Council appoints Members of Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

22 November 2016

Geneva, 22 November 2016 -- The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Choi Kyonglim (Republic of Korea), announced today the appointment of Mr. Fatsah Ouguergouz (Algeria), Ms. Reina Alapini Gansu (Benin) and Ms. Francoise Hampson (United Kingdom), to serve as the three members of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.  Mr. Ouguergouz will serve as Chair of the three-person Commission.

The Council decided to establish, for a period of one year, a commission of inquiry on Burundi at its thirty-third session on 30 September 2016, to conduct a thorough investigation into human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015. 

Through Human Rights Council resolution 33/24 the 47-member body also mandated the three-person Commission to identify alleged perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses in Burundi with a view to ensuring full accountability. 

The Commissioners, who will serve in their personal capacities, are mandated to engage with the Burundian authorities and other stakeholders, in particular United Nations agencies, civil society, refugees, the field presence of the Office of the High Commissioner in Burundi, authorities of the African Union, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in order to provide the support and expertise for the immediate improvement of the situation of human rights and the fight against in impunity.

The Commission is scheduled to present an oral briefing to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth sessions, in March and June 2017, respectively, and a final report during an interactive dialogue at its thirty-sixth session in September 2017.

Biographies of the members of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

Fatsah Ouguergouz (Algeria) was a Justice of the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights (Arusha, Tanzania) from 2006 to September 2016 and Vice-President of this Court since September 2012.  He was formally Secretary of the International Court of Justice and held the position of Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council (Geneva) (2010-2011). He was Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice (The Hague) and Human Rights Officer in the UN Office in Rwanda.  He also served as Associate Legal Officer, at the UN Office of Legal Affairs; Lecturer at the University of Geneva Faculty of Law and Visiting Professor at Panthéon-Assas University. He holds a PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva, Switzerland).

Reina 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 Human Rights Council please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/hrc

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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