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Burundi: Prisoner released in Burundi

06-07-2001 News Release 01/26

Geneva (ICRC) - Burundi’s Force for the Defence of Democracy today released a member of the Burundian armed forces. The soldier, who had been captured two months ago, was placed in the care of the ICRC’s Burundi delegation.

At the request of both parties and in its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC handed the soldier over to an army headquarters staff officer following a medical examination and a private interview.

“This is the first time the ICRC has been able to perform this service in Burundi”, said Cedric Piralla, the organization’s head of delegation in Bujumbura. “What is most significant is that the parties to the conflict agreed to set aside scope for action to help an individual protected under international humanitarian law, and then ensured that that action was able to be carried out.”

The ICRC’s delegation in Burundi makes regular visits to people held in six of the country’s 11 civilian prisons and has recently extended its activities to persons held by the Gendarmerie. Visits to stations operated by the security police are the next item planned by the ICRC in the realm of detainee-welfare work.