Communication 27/89 alleges the expulsion from Rwanda of Burundi
nationals who had been refugees in Rwanda for many years (Bonaventure
Mbonuabucya, Baudouin Ntatundi, Vincent Sinarairaye and Shadrack
Nkunzwenimana). They were told on 2 June 1989 that they had a month to leave
the country. The reason given for their expulsion was that they were a
national security risk due to their «subversive activities». The refugees
were not allowed to defend themselves before a competent court.
 Communication 46/90 alleges arbitrary arrests and summary executions
have occurred in Rwanda.
 Communication 49/91 alleges the detention of thousands of people in
various parts of the country by the Rwandan security forces. These arrests
have been made on the basis of ethnic origin and peaceful political
activities. The communication states that over 1000 people including women,
children and the aged are held in deplorable conditions. A large number of
villages have been destroyed and villagers, mostly Tutsis, have been
 Communication 99/93 alleges serious and massive violations between
October 1990 and January 1992. A report was submitted at the same time
detailing such violations as widespread massacres, extrajudicial executions
and arbitrary arrests against the Tutsi ethnic group.
 Communication 27/89 was submitted on 22 June 1989 by Organisation
Mondiale contre la Torture and Association Internationale des Juristes
Démocrates. The letter of the Free Legal Assistance Group was dated 17 March
1989, that of the Austrian Committee against Torture dated 29 March 1989,
that of the Centre Haitien dated 20 April 1989.
 The Commission was seized of the communication at the 6th Ordinary
Session in October 1989.
 On 14 March 1990 the Secretariat of the Commission notified the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda.
 From 1990 to 1995, the Commission attempted unsuccessfully to send a
mission to Rwanda in order to carry out investigations on this cases.
 Communication 46/90 was submitted by the International Commission of
Jurists on 16 October 1990.
 On 6 November 1990 a notification was sent to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs by registered mail.
 At the 10th Ordinary Session, in October 1991, the communication was
declared admissible. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was notified on this
decision on 23 October 1991.
 Communication 49/91 was submitted by the Organisation Mondiale Contre
la Torture (OMCT) on 28 November 1990.
 Communication 99/93 was submitted by Union Interafricaine des Droits de
l’Homme on 20 March 1993.
 From 1993 to 1995, various letters and notifications were sent to
Rwanda, to which there was no response from the government.
 It appears as stated under Article 58 of the African Charter, the
communications 27/89, 46/90, 49/91 and 99/93 against Rwanda reveal the
existence of a series of serious or massive violations of the provisions of
the African Charter.
 Article 56 of the African Charter requires that complainants exhaust
local remedies before the Commission can take up a case, unless these
remedies are, as a practical matter, unavailable or unduly prolonged. The
requirement of exhaustion of local remedies is founded on, amongst others,
the principle that a government should have notice of a human rights
violation in order to have the opportunity to remedy such violations before
being called before an international tribunal.
 In accordance with its earlier decisions on cases of serious and
massive violations of human rights, and in view of the vast and varied scope
of the violations alleged and the large number of individuals involved, the
Commission holds that remedies need not be exhausted and, as such, declares
the communications admissible.
 For the above reasons, the Commission declared the communications
 The main goal of the communications procedure before the Commission is
to initiate a positive dialogue, resulting in an amicable resolution between
the complainant and the state concerned, which remedies the prejudice
complained of. A pre-requisite for amicably remedying violations of the
Charter is the good faith of the parties concerned, including their
willingness to participate in a dialogue.
 In the present case, there has been no substantive response from the
Government of Rwanda, despite the numerous notifications of the
communications sent by the African Commission. The African Commission, in
several previous decisions, has set out the principle that where allegations
of human rights abuse go uncontested by the government concerned, even after
repeated notifications, the Commission must decide on the facts provided by
the complainant and treat those facts as given (See, for example, the
decisions of the Commission on communications 59/91, 60/91,64/91, 87/93 and
101/93). This principle conforms with the practice of other international
human rights adjudicatory bodies and the Commission’s duty to protect human
rights. The fact that the Government of Rwanda does not wish to participate
in a dialogue obliges the Commission to continue its consideration of the
case regrettably on the basis of facts and opinions submitted by only one of
 Article 2 of the Charter reads:
“Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and
freedoms recognised and guaranteed in the present Charter without
distinction of any kind such race, ethnicnal group, national or social
 There is considerable evidence, undisputed by the government, that the
violations of the rights of individuals have occurred on the basis of their
being Burundian nationals or members of the Tutsi ethnic group. The denial
of numerous rights to individuals on account of their nationality or
membership of a particular ethnic group clearly violates Article 2.
 Article 4 of the Charter reads:
“Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect
for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily
deprived of this right.”
 The massacre of a large number of Rwandan villagers by the Rwandan
armed forces and the many reported extra judicial executions for reasons of
their membership of a particular ethnic group is a violation of Article 4.
 Article 5 of the Charter reads:
“Every individual shall have the right to the respect of dignity inherent in
a human being...torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and
treatment shall be prohibited.”
 The conditions of detention in which children, women and the aged are
held violates their physical and psychological integrity and therefore
constitutes of violation of Article 5.
 Article 6 of the Charter reads:
“Every individual shall have the right to liberty and security of his person.
No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions
previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily
arrested or detained.”
 The arrests and detentions of the Rwandan Government based on grounds
of ethnic origin alone, in light of Article 2 in particular, constitute
arbitrary deprivation of the liberty of an individual. These acts are clear
evidence of a violation of Article 6.
 Article 12 of the African Charter reads:
“3. Every individual shall have the right, when persecuted to seek and
obtain asylum in other countries in accordance with laws of those countries
and international conventions.
4. A non-national legally admitted in a territory of a State Party to the
present Charter, may only be expelled from it by virtue of a decision taken
in accordance with the law.”
 This provision should be read as including a general protection of all
those who are subject to persecution, that they may seek refuge in another
state. Article 12.4 prohibits the arbitrary expulsion of such persons from
the country of asylum. The Burundian refugees in this situation were
expelled in violation of Articles 2 and 12 of the African Charter.
 Article 12.5 of the African Charter reads:
The mass expulsion of non-nationals shall be prohibited. Mass expulsion
shall be that which is aimed at national, racial, ethnic or religious groups.
 There is ample evidence in this communication that groups of Burundian
refugees have been expelled on the basis of their nationality. This
constitutes a clear violation of Article 12.5.
 Article 7.1 of the Charter reads:
“Every individual shall have the right to have his case heard. This
(a) The right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts
violating his fundamental rights...”
 By expelling these refugees from Rwanda, without giving them the
opportunity to be heard by the national judicial authorities, the government
of Rwanda has violated article 7.1 of the Charter.
 The African Commission is aware of the fact that the situation in
Rwanda has undergone dramatic change in the years since the communications
were introduced. Furthermore, the Commission has to rule on the facts which
were submitted to it.
 FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, THE COMMISSION
Holds that the facts constitute serious or massive violations of the African
Charter, namely of Articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 12.3 and 12.4 and 12.5 of the
Urges the government of Rwanda to adopt measures in conformity with this
 Taken at the 20th Ordinary Session, Grand Bay, Mauritius, October 1996.