Burundi's campaign Against Torture

Freed after 740 days of detention while under provisional release granted

The court of Cibitoke is located in the North-West of Burundi, about 50 kilometers from the capital city Bujumbura. No prison is located in Cibitoke, so prisoners from this area are detained in the Central Prison of Mpimba located in Bujumbura. To hear criminal matters, this court has to make “itinerants,” where judges and prosecutors from Cibitoke court move to Bujumbura. They then hold hearings in the courtroom of one of Bujumbura tribunals. The provisional relocations are supported by the … Continue Reading →


Serving nearly double time: Teenager freed after IBJ simply follows-up with neglected case

One IBJ client was barely 15 years old when he was arrested on 6 July 2007. He was accused of burglary and put in pre-trial detention. The only existing documentation of his detention is the arrest warrant (dated 06/07/2007), and the order to detain him provisionally (dated 23/08/2008). It was only after almost two years after his arrest that he appeared before the court in a public hearing. He pled not guilty, but was not assisted by a lawyer (although … Continue Reading →


5 cases of the same family

Imprisonment as a family affair: One family’s acquittal after years in prison

During one of his regular prison visits to the prison of Bururi, IBJ lawyer Janvier Ncamatwi identified five family members who were imprisoned and awaiting their trial, accused of willful destruction of property. After having met with the clients, the facts showed that the family was imprisoned for rather strange and not very comprehensive accusations. Family disputes of neighboring families seemed to be at the source of the accusations. Maître Janvier followed up the cases and was able to obtain … Continue Reading →


IBJ hopes for new age of juvenile justice in Burundi

While celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and  Universal Children’s Day (November 20th), IBJ organized a roundtable event around the theme “special procedures of juvenile justice enforcement in Burundi” on Friday, November 23rd, 2012. 20 people participated, including presidents of courts, prosecutors of the republic, judges, secretaries, and court clerks. All journeyed from the city of Bujumbura and the provinces of Bujumbura, Bururi, and Muramvya, the three main provinces in Burundi from which … Continue Reading →


Satisfactory IBJ Legal Assistance at Muramyva court: Views of beneficiaries and partners

On Thursday, October 4th, 2012, a team from IBJ went to Muramvya with a purpose of evaluating the work of IBJ lawyers in the area. They were given the chance to assess what was needed to increase the impact of IBJ’s activities there. This was done through interviewing the recipients of IBJ legal assistance who had recently been acquitted. A journalist from Radio Isanganiro, one of the two broadcasting stations that hosted IBJ’s “Know your Rights” broadcasts, helped by recording … Continue Reading →


IBJ successful legal assistance at MURAMVYA

Muramvya is one of seventeen provinces of Burundi, located about 48 km from Bujumbura, the capital city. One of the eleven prisons in Burundi, with a capacity of 100 prisoners, is located within this province in a rural area. A total of 471 prisoners were there as of September 30th, 2012, four times over capacity level. There is one small cell within this prison reserved for children. A prosecution court operates there mainly in criminal or civil matters. This province … Continue Reading →


IBJ’s two months evaluation of reduction in Burundi prisons population

During the Golden jubilee of the Independence of Burundi celebrations, the problem of overcrowding in Burundi prisons has been rethought. Certainly, prison overcrowding is one of the forms of ill-treatment referred to in all the texts against torture. Not only was there a strong necessity to reduce the number of inmates in order to conform with acceptable conditions defined in international norms on prisons, but also, in this period of national festivities, common practice is to give pardon to some … Continue Reading →


While celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Burundi Independence, the President of the Republic enacted a pardon decree regarding prisoners

Burundi Prisons are hugely overcrowded. On June 15th 2012, there were a total of 10,484 prisoners while the official capacity of the country’s 11 prisons is 4,050 detainees.  This situation has served to worsen prisoners’ living conditions, resulting in a prison system that is both inhuman and unlawful. The question of overcrowded prisons has been frequently discussed during various roundtables debates organized by International Bridges to Justice, especially regarding the high rates of pre trial detention in Burundi. On June … Continue Reading →


IBJ supports the idea of creating a network of organizations involved in the field of child’s rights after the Burundi Janusz Korczak 2012 Award Jury

  On 30th April, 2012, International Bridges to Justice welcomed the meeting of the Jury of BURUNDI JANUSZ KORCZAK AWARD and was member of the Jury of this AWARD which aims to advance research in the field of the rights of the child as well as strengthen commitment to excellence on academic field. Student of universities of Burundi write essays on topics related to children rights and submit them to the selection committee. The winner gets a scholarship to attend the … Continue Reading →


One morning at the court in Bujumbura

At ten o’clock, IBJ Legal Fellow Janvier Ncamatwi arrives at the courthouse in Bujumbura, Burundi. Though he is there on schedule, he still has to wait for his clients to arrive, because the prisons lack the vehicles to reliably transport accused detainees to court. Janvier is expecting to handle ten cases this morning. There is a boy accused of stealing while working as a domestic servant; the lawyer suspects that there may be a dispute regarding the terms of employment … Continue Reading →