In its first year in power, the current Burundian government has made significant achievements — judicial reform, reconstruction initiatives, social welfare improvements — but the threat of instability in Burundi, human rights situation, and legacy of the civil war remain serious issues for the people of Burundi.
A major hurdle was overcome when the last rebel group still holding out from the peace process in Burundi (which began in 2000), the Front National de Liberation (FNL) signed a temporary peace agreement with the government on June 18. Shortly thereafter, negotiations between the government and FNL began. In early August, the government arrested some 9 people, charged with conspiring to commit a coup against the government. Among the arrested are a former vice-president, an army colonel, former rebel leader, and opposition politicians. Human rights organizations have expressed concerns that those arrested have been tortured by government security forces and have reported on continued governmental harassment of opposition politicians and the independent media.
One major area of reform, the judiciary, has seen several important, if at times controversial, steps. Some 3,000 designated “political prisoners” have been released from jail, a move that caused some victims’ rights and human rights organizations to express concerns about the process and protections for victims surrounding these releases. The government has focused on creating greater ethnic and gender balance in the promotion of judges. Additionally, discussions have continued between the Burundian government and United Nations about establishing both a special court and truth and reconciliation process to deal with crimes committed since the country gained its independence from Belgium in 1961.