Burundi. In June, a disputed media law was introduced, despite criticism from media organizations, the opposition and donors such as the UN. According to Countryaah, the law restricts reporting on issues that may threaten national security, public order or the economy. Journalists may also be forced to state their sources.
Shortly after the law came into force, three journalists were arrested on suspicion of such crimes. Freedom of the press has previously been questioned. A well-known case is radio journalist Hassan Ruvakuki, who in June 2012 was sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorist offenses. By the end of 2011, Ruvakuki had visited Tanzania and interviewed members of an armed Burundian opposition group. In January, his sentence was reduced to three years and he was released in March for health reasons.
In February, the UN Security Council extended the mandate for the UN operation in Burundi, BNUB. It will build institutions and strengthen human rights and political dialogue until the elections in 2015. Burundi announced in November that it wanted to end the UN operation as early as 2014.
The political tensions are close to the surface. Five people were seriously injured in clashes in October between supporters of the opposition party MSD (Movement for Security and Democracy) and the government party CNDDFND’s youth association, Imbonerakure, in a town north of the capital Bujumbura. Imbonerakure is increasingly accused of harassing opponents.
During the year, several opposition politicians who boycotted the disputed presidential elections in 2010 returned and then went into exile. Last in line was Agathon Rwasa, ex-leader of the National Liberation Forces (FNL), who returned in August. Prosecutors announced in September that they were investigating Rwasa for a 2004 massacre of Congolese refugees, which he denies.