In April 2013, the American Friends Service Committee sponsored 10 members of the Burundian Parliament to a study tour to the Republic of South Africa to learn from the South African experience on the implementation of their Truth and Reconciliation Commission, TRC.
They were also exposed during the visit to the experiences of other African countries that had experienced the TRC process like Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo through Skype teleconferences.
These MPs were exposed to best practices and challenges of these countries’ TRC processes which was a strong force for improving the Burundi TRC process.
Prior to their visit to South Africa, the Burundi TRC process was facing a stalemate due to lack of consensus over the content of the draft law that had been developed. Burundians were thus divided over the content of this law and this was a possible driving factor for conflict after the many years of conflict that the country had gone through. It was in this light that AFSC decided to use its conflict prevention tool, Dialogue and Exchange Program (DEP), to try to reconcile the differences.
The Burundian MPs during the study tour were able to understand the key driving factors for the conflict in the above mentioned countries and how they went through their governing laws including the nomination process of the TRC Commissioners; management of the victims, supposed perpetrators and witnesses; their reparation process; reporting and archiving; among others.
Some months after their return to Burundi in 2014, the Burundian Parliament voted for the TRC law which finally was promulgated by the President of the Republic. This however received some criticism from the other opposition parties.
The process for nomination of the future Commissioners of the TRC is ongoing with the ad hoc committee having been put in place.