Added: April 12, 2014 – Last updated: April 8, 2017


Authors: Nathalie E.J. Dijkman, Catrien Bijleveld, and Philip Verwimp

Title: Sexual Violence in Burundi

Subtitle: Victims, perpetrators, and the role of conflict

Place: Brighton

Publisher: Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Year: March 2014

Pages: 34pp.

Series: HiCN Working Paper 172

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | African History: Burundian History | Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / Burundian Civil War


Link: HiCN Households in Conflict Network (Free Access)



Catrien Bijleveld, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid (Faculty of Law), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam)

Nathalie Dijkman, Hague Institute for Innovation of Law

Philip Verwimp, HiCN Households in Conflict Network

Abstract: »In this paper we shed light on sexual violence in Burundi in the aftermath of its civil war. By presenting the results of a mixed-method research we discuss five topics: prevalence of sexual violence, a profile of victims, a profile of perpetrators, sexual violence’s relation to civil war and its current legal reactions and challenges. By means of multivariate regression analyses we predict women’s vulnerability to sexual- and gender based violence (GBV) in the context of war compared to everyday life. We find that age, schooling, living in an IDP camp and household wealth before the civil war have significantly different effects on GBV in both contexts. Many uniformed and armed men committed sexual violence during the war, and it appears that today ex-combatants and military continue to do so. From qualitative interviews we find several factors that connect Burundi’s past conflict to today’s violence, among which a weakened solidarity in communities and a problematic integration of ex-combatants in society. Impunity marks life in today’s Burundi, in particular in relation to persisting sexual violence. A thorough reconciliation or adjudication process since the civil war, as well as today’s difficulties to prosecute and pursue perpetrators, are among the main challenges for countering sexual violence in Burundi.« (Source: Working Paper)


  Abstract (p. i)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    Sexual violence (p. 2)
    Studying sexual violence in armed conflict (p. 2)
    Burundi's civil war (p. 3)
    Violence during Burundi's civil war and its aftermath (p. 4)
  Methodology (p. 4)
    Exploiting Survey Data (p. 5)
    Qualitative interviews and respondents (p. 6)
    Analytic methods (p. 7)
  Descriptive Analysis (p. 8)
    Prevalence of sexual violence in Burundi (p. 8)
    Victims of sexual violence (p. 10)
    Perpetrators of sexual violence (p. 11)
    Sexual violence and the civil war (p. 13)
  Multivariate analysis (p. 16)
  Discussion (p. 17)
  Legal challenges and reactions (p. 18)
  Conclusion (p. 20)
  References (p. 23)

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of Burundi | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence | War: Burundian Civil War