CAT/C/62/D/496/2012

which the complainant or his family might be exposed, particularly as a result of having
submitted this complaint, and to keep the Committee informed of the measures taken to that
end.
The facts as submitted by the complainant
2.1
The complainant was working as a driver in the city of Cibitoke at the time of the
events in question. On 15 February 2008, at around 10 a.m., the complainant was in front of
his house, talking with his cousin about abuse that the cousin had been subjected to a few
minutes earlier. The complainant’s cousin was telling him that the governor of Cibitoke
Province, Mr. Zéphyrin Barutwanayo, had stopped him on the Buganda-Murwi road half an
hour earlier and confiscated the registration documents of the vehicle he was driving. While
the complainant and his cousin were talking about this incident, the governor, escorted by
four uniformed police officers, pulled up in a pickup truck and again ordered the
complainant’s cousin to give him his vehicle registration documents, even though they had
been taken from him shortly before. The governor then ordered one of the four police
officers to take the keys to the complainant’s cousin’s car and make the cousin get in the
back of the truck without telling him why. The complainant then intervened on behalf of his
cousin by asking the governor to let his cousin drive the car to where he was told rather
than turn it over to the police officers. The governor, angered by the challenge to his orders,
then ordered the complainant, too, into the back of the truck.
2.2
The complainant, refusing, crossed the street. The governor ordered three of the
police officers to make him get in by force. After having grabbed him by the arms, they
threw him onto the bed of the truck. The complainant landed face-first, hitting his head.
The blow broke his glasses. The complainant nonetheless managed to pull himself out of
the truck, but when the governor noticed, he ordered the three police officers to immobilize
him, beat him and make him get back in.
2.3
One of the police officers struck him on the legs and feet with the butt of his rifle
about ten times in an attempt to force them into the truck. The beating was so violent that
the complainant fell to the ground. While the complainant was on the ground behind the
truck and surrounded by police officers, the governor ordered them to beat him. The
complainant claims that he was beaten for half an hour by the police officers, who hit him
all over with the butts of their rifles and their truncheons. One of them struck him with the
butt of his rifle on his right ankle and threatened him with his pistol in order to force him
back into the truck.1
2.4
The complainant was in a critical condition and covered in blood when passers-by
began to gather around the truck. Under increasing pressure from the crowd, the police
officers stopped beating the complainant and left with the truck and the cousin’s vehicle.
The complainant was left lying on the ground, covered in blood and unable to stand up.
2.5
The passers-by who had stopped at the scene of the violence placed the complainant
in a vehicle and took him to Prince Regent Charles Hospital in Bujumbura. The
complainant had injuries all over his body. They required care immediately and for several
weeks thereafter. The doctors carried out a number of tests and, after using various external
methods to treat his ankle, to no avail, the attending physician prescribed an X-ray. 2
Although the doctors were of the view that the complainant would need to stay in the

1

2

2

The complainant provides a statement that his cousin made to the complainant’s representative in the
case before the Committee. In the relevant parts of this undated statement, his cousin explains that the
police officers took the complainant by the arms and “flung him into the back of the truck”, in such a
way that he “landed on his face and broke his glasses”. He also mentions that the complaint “was
pummelled while he was down. The governor’s escort hit him on his legs and feet with the butt of his
rifle.” The complainant’s cousin also states that he paid a fine and was imprisoned from 18 to 21
February 2008 for having “overloaded his car” and stoked the animosity of the crowd towards the
governor.
The complainant provides several bills for hospitalization and medicine. He has also transmitted a
medical certificate dated 27 February 2008 showing that he sustained an injury to his right ankle,
resulting in considerable bruising. The medical certificate states that the X-ray showed a severe
contusion of the soft tissues of the right ankle, not a fracture of the bone.
GE.18-00818

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