Media advisory – Burundi: UN Expert welcomes quashing of Tony Germain Nkina’s conviction; calls for retrial to adhere to international fair trial standards
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, today welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court of Burundi on 6 December to quash the conviction of human rights defender Tony Germain Nkina. The Court returned his case to the Ngozi appeal court for a retrial, due to take place on 15 December 2022.
Lawlor said: “I am encouraged to see this move by the Supreme Court of Burundi and I note that it was also the Supreme Court in 2020 which overturned the 32 year sentence handed down to fellow human rights defender Germain Rukuki, who was released last year after an appeal court reduced his sentence to one year.”
Calling on Burundi to ensure that Tony Germain Nkina’s retrial adheres to international fair trial standards, Lawlor said: “This is a case which has generated significant interest in the international community and many eyes will be on the Ngozi appeal court on Thursday. I urge the Burundian authorities to take steps to ensure that Tony’s retrial is held in line with international fair trial standards, a right provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, among other international instruments.”
Tony Germain Nkina is a human rights defender and lawyer who was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2021, having been arrested the previous year. He was found guilty of ‘collaborating with armed groups’. Until the organisation was suspended in 2015, Tony Germain Nkina was the representative of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues, APRODH), and during interrogations was reportedly repeatedly questioned about his affiliation with APRODH.
NOTE: an earlier version of this media advisory stated that the Supreme Court made its decision to quash the conviction of Mr. Nkina on 8 December. This has now been amended to reflect that this decision was made on 6 December.