The verdict in Burundi over former President Pierre Buyoya to life in prison puts the African Union in an embarrassment. The latter is the high representative of the organization in Mali and the Sahel. There were no statements in Addis Ababa as relations remain strained between the AU and Burundi.
Two years ago, the African Union respondedissuance of arrest warrants international organizations against Pierre Buyoya and his co-defendants by urging the Burundian government “to refrain from any measure likely to complicate the search for a consensus solution” in the country.
This arrest warrant had no consequences for the former Burundian president today High Representative for the African Organization in Mali in the Sahel. He continued to travel the world as if nothing had happened.
Pierre Buyoya, who led Burundi twice and each time handed over power to a civilian, is one of the most respected African figures in international institutions despite the inter-ethnic massacres that tarnish his power. Her life sentence relates to the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, the first democratically elected Hutu president in 1993.
Complicated connections between AU and Burundi
But the African Union seems to be keeping a low profile this time around. No press release, no public expression so far. It must be said that his relationship with Gitega was not in good shape at the start of the crisis in Burundi in 2015, as the authorities in this country have often accused him of supporting “his enemies”.
The belief in Buyoya therefore puts the organization “in an embarrassment, although it will undoubtedly have no influence on its mission of representation, at least for the time being,” an African diplomat estimated. He recalls that for two years the African Union has regarded this whole procedure as essentially political. In addition, the AU regularly recalls its quality as guarantor of the Burundi peace agreement signed in 2000, which granted amnesty to the parties to the conflict.