UPDATE: The Burundi Legal System and Research


By Syldie Bizimana
Update by Jean-Claude Barakamfitiye  and Janvier Ncamatwi


Jean-Claude Barakamfitiye, a laureate of Burundi JANUSZ KORCZAK AWARD for Children rights, is a human rights defender in Burundi. His sharp interest in Human Rights dates back to the time he was a Junior Deputy at the World Parliament for Children in Paris. He holds a Bachelor degree from the University of Burundi. He has worked for CIRID (Centre Indépendant de Recherche et d’Initiatives pour le Dialogue), a Burundi human rights civil society organization of which he finally became member from 2009 and nowadays, he is an active manager of Burundi International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) program.

Janvier Ncamatwi holds a Master in Human Rights and Pacific Conflict Resolution. He has been a lawyer at the Burundi Bar Association since 2004. Prior to joining the Bar, Janvier Ncamatwi worked in the Burundian army, first as a major in the military and then as a military court judge. He has thus a thorough understanding of the Burundian criminal justice system, including the civil and military jurisdictions. Passionate about human rights, Janvier cooperates with several NGOs, including ASF, Ligue Iteka, the Christian Association Against Torture (ACAT) and is a Legal Fellow at International Bridges to Justice (Burundi office).
Syldie Bizimana, a human rights activist in Burundi, is currently a LLM student in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He is also undertaking a master degree on fundamental rights at Université de Nantes in France. He holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Université Libre de Kigali, Rwanda.



Published November/December 2012
See the Archive Version

Table of Contents

1.  Introduction

1.1  Population Information

1.2  Economic Indicators

2.  Historical Background

2.1  Pre-Colonial History

2.2  Colonial History

2.3  Post-Colonial History

2.4  Current State Structure

2.4.1  The Executive

2.4.2  The Legislative

3.  Legal System

3.1  Background to the Legal System

3.2  Sources of Law

3.3  Judicial Structure

4.  Status of International Law and Ratifications of Relevant Treaties

5.  Status of Reporting

6.  National Human Rights Institutions

7.  Burundi Links

List of Figures

Figure 1:  Burundi’s Population Density and Growth

Figure 2:  A Schematic Attempt at Capturing the Economic Context



1.  Introduction

Burundi, a landlocked Republic in Eastern Africa is bordered on the north by Rwanda, on the east by Tanzania and on the west by Lake Tanganyika and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has an area of 27,834 square kilometres and is one of Africa’s smallest countries.


1.1 Population Information


Figure 1:  Burundi’s Population Density and Growth



Latest figures

Total population 

8.575 million (2011)

Annual population growth rate


% (2011)

Life expectancy at birth

50.33 years old (2011)

Infant mortality rate/1000

86.3/1000 (2011)

% of population urbanised

10.9% (2011)

Total adult literacy rate

66.57% (2008)

Estimated adult HIV prevalence rate( 15 + years)

3.3% (2009)

Source: World Bank, World Databank (Burundi)


The three major ethnics groups that comprise the Burundian population[1] are the Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (pygmy) 1%, all recognised in the Burundi Constitution.


1.2 Economic Indicators

The Burundian economy depends largely on agriculture and over 55% of the population is poor living under $1 USD a day which is considered below the poverty levels.


Figure 2:  A Schematic Attempt at Capturing the Economic Context



Latest figures

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

$250 (2011)

GDP (current US$)[2]

2.326 billion (2011)

GDP growth (annual %)

4.19 (2011)

Population below 1 $ a day


Health expenditure, public (% of government expenditure)

8,14% (2010)

Public spending on education, total (% of GDP)

9,24% (2010)




Source: World Bank, World Databank (Burundi)

The budget allocated to defence in 2012 was 89290992413 BIF and the total budget was 779917598840 BIF. The defence budget represent about 11.44%. For more details look at the 2012 budget of Burundi by following this link: http://www.finances.gov.bi/download/budgets/budget_2012

2.  Historical Background

2.1 Pre-Colonial History


From the sixteenth century, the region was organised as a kingdom, under the authority of a king (mwami) who was believed to be possessed of both secular and spiritual authority. Hutus, Tutsis and Batwa cohabited in this kingdom under a system of administration consisting of both Hutu and Tutsi chiefs. The two groups became homogenised, and adopted the same language (Kirundi). There was territorial expansion and conquest, and the vanquished party was made to pay tribute to the King. The Batwa who lacked a centralized system of governance and were only organized at family level, were almost always on the receiving end of these conquests.[3]


An examination of the way in which the monarchical system operated during the pre-colonial period, based on oral sources, reveals positive and negative aspects of the system. On the positive side, it may be said that monarchism succeeded in forming a nation and in preserving national unity and social peace. In addition, it established an essentially democratic institution, the ubushingantahe.[4] Lastly, power was perceived as being exercised in the interests of the population at large and for the maintenance of order in society. On the other hand, the monarchical system had inequalities and ethnic differentiation originating from the privileges enjoyed by the ruling class and institutionalization of the monarchy. Moreover, the power of the monarchy could be arbitrary, despite the existence of institutions for social regulation as the Mwami had an absolute power on life of all people living in his kingdom and even on their goods.


2.2 Colonial History


The first contact between barundi and the Europeans was with explorers and missionaries. In 1890, the Germans brought Burundi (then called Urundi) under its control. Together with Rwanda (Ruanda) and Tanganyika, this region became known as German East Africa. Adopting a system of ‘indirect rule’, the impact of German colonisation was insignificant.  After Germany’s defeat in the First World War, the territory of Ruanda-Urundi was given to Belgium to administer under the League of Nations mandate system. From the outset of its administration in 1916, the Belgians continued a policy of indirect rule. From 1925, it converted the informal societal hierarchies into rigid structures of government


2.3 Post-Colonial History


When Burundi became independent in 1962, it adopted a constitutional monarchy before becoming a republic after a military coup d’état of 1966 Independence ushered in a period of serious destabilisation in the region, characterised by inter-ethnic strife. Large-scale massacres took place in 1965, 1972, 1988, and 1993.


After many years of turbulence, 1993 saw the holding of the first multi party national elections on the basis of a new constitution, which provided for an inclusive government under a presidential system. Ndadaye Melchior, a Hutu, won the Presidential elections, becoming the first member of his community to hold the highest office in the land. His term of office was short-lived and he was killed 3 months after ascending office in a coup d’Etat, which plunged the country to civil war and anarchy. His predecessor, Cyprien Ntaryamira, another Hutu, died in a plane crash with his Rwandan counterpart, Juvenal Habyarimana, which ushered in a period of darkness in the two neighbouring countries.


2.5. The Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement


Nowadays, Burundi is weathering from a 15 years civil war. In order to recover a safe and peaceful state, many peace and cease-fire settlements have been concluded by politicians from both Hutus and Tutsi political parties. The Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 28th August 2000 is the key and fundamental covenant that has brought a lot of changes in Burundi legal system and continue to guide peace and reconciliation policy. It is the first settlement which introduced sharing process of political power between the two main ethnic categories in Burundi by introducing quotas in the composition of the army, the government, the parliament and even in local administration and public services. It integrates a high gender sensibility by assuring to women at least 30% of representation in all instances of decision.  Thus, this instrument inspired all the constitutions and acts adopted since 2000[5].


The Arusha settlement is made of five main protocols:

Protocol 1: The Nature of Burundi conflict, problems of genocide and exclusion and their solutions

Protocol 2: Democracy and Good governance

Protocol 3: Peace and Security for all

Protocol 4: Rebuilding the country and development

Protocol 5: Safeguards for implementation of the agreement


There are also appendices that contain obligations and duties to be observed by signatory parties.


2.4 Current State Structure


2.4.1 The Executive


The executive power is exercised by a President of the Republic assisted in the execution of the mandate by two Deputy Presidents. The President of the republic is both the head of state and government[6]. He is also the Commander in Chief of the army, the guarantor of the National Unity. He exercises the statutory power and the execution of the laws. The current head of state Pierre Nkurunziza, the sole candidate to the 2010 elections, has been re-elected by the population after a first five year mandate for which he had been elected by the parliament in a vote under the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi approved in a plebiscite in February 2005[7].  The first deputy president is in charge of the coordination of the political domain, whereas the second coordinates the economic and social domain. Both are appointed by the Head of State after a consultation of the National Assembly. The ethnic composition of the Council of Ministers, which makes up the executive arm of the government and the civil service, is of Hutu and Tutsi by quotas of 60% and 40% respectively. It is also taken in consideration the gender sensibility. At least 30% of the members of the government must be women[8].


2.4. 2 The Legislative


Burundi Parliament is bicameral. The National Assembly together with the Senate undertake the legislative function of the state.[9]They also control and monitor the Government’s action[10]. Nine matters are under the domain of the law[11]:

A.    Safeguards and fundamental obligations of the citizens: including safeguarding individual freedom; protection of civil liberties; constraints imposed in the interest of national defense and public security to citizens in their person and their property.

B.    The status of persons and goods: this comprises nationality, status and capacity of persons; matrimonial regimes, inheritance and gifts; property ownership, real rights and civil and commercial obligations.

C.     The political, administrative and judicial organisation;

D.    The protection of the environment and up keeping of natural resources;

E.    Financial and patrimonial matters;

F.     Nationalisation and privatisation of companies;

G.    Education and scientific research regimes;

H.    The goals of economical and social action of the State;

I.      Legislation on labor, social security, trade union rights, including
conditions for exercising the right to strike.

The matters which are not listed above belong to the domain of rule.


However, Parliament’s law making function is not absolute. The President may on the advice of the constitutional Court issue a presidential decree which modify an act of the legislative[12] . The extent of the modification is however not clearly defined under the constitution. It leaves one to wonder if there exist the possibilities of a Presidential decree completely annulling the objects of legislation.


3.  Legal System

3.1 Background to the Legal System [13]


Since the colonial period, the judicial system moved from customary law to positive law and it adopted civil law system following the example of the Belgians who were the colonialists. At independence, positive law covered all branches of law, with the exception of some private, civil law issues. After independence, positive law has come to govern almost all the fields of society, with important exceptions related to inheritance, marital property, gifts/liberalities, acquisition and sale of non-registered land and relationships between employers and workers of the traditional or unstructured sector. A new code of land has been recently adopted. This code states new provisions to allow an easy registration of land. In this way, it is hoped that the field of customary law will decrease. Also, there are bills[14] which have been proposed to codify the remaining areas covered by customary law[15].


The Burundian Legal System


The judicial system is organized through the Code of Organization and Judicial Competence of 17 March 2005[16]. The independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by the constitution, which separates the judiciary, the executive and legislative body. There are formal and informal mechanisms of conflicts management provided under the Code.


At hills level,[17] there are kinds of Courts of Hills "intahe yo ku mugina“in which elders “abashingantahe“and elected people on the hills, comprise the bench; the current communal law[18] has conferred upon them power reconciliation the parties. However, they do not have the right to impose punishments


At the Commune level, there are the “Courts of Residence” or Magistrate Courts Tribunal de Residence” which handle both criminal and civil cases. The Courts of residence has criminal jurisdiction to impose jail sentences for up to 2 years, and in its civil jurisdiction, a fine of up 1,000,000 Burundi Francs. It also has jurisdiction over land matters, matters relating to evictions, family and persons related matters and infractions against the Highway Code. In this last case, the court of residence can attribute to victims of accidents a compensation which goes beyond 1,000,000 BIF. At the level of “Courts of residence” the role of prosecutor in criminal affairs is played by judges who comprise the bench, while the Prosecutor of Republic omitted to nominate a prosecutor or a police officer to play this role[19].


At the province level, there are county courts: Tribunaux de Grande Instance with the prosecutions: Parquets de la République which are then followed by three Courts of appeal with three General prosecutions based at Bujumbura, Ngozi, and Gitega. The Supreme Court aside which there is the General Prosecution of the Republic: Parquet Général de la République stands at the Apex of judicial authority, and has both original and appellate jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters. The Supreme Court comprises three chambers: the Judicial chamber, the Administrative chamber and the cassation chamber.  The Constitutional Court is a sui generis court that presides over matters of a constitutional nature such as providing right interpretation of provisions of the constitution, validate presidential and legislative elections, plebiscites and proclaim their results. The constitutional court also decides on issues relating to human rights violations.[20] Together with the Supreme Court, they constitute the High Court of Justice, which has competence to try a seating president and other senior members of the government of high treason.[21]


Specialized courts including commercial, administrative, labor and court martial also exist. The Court Against Corruption together with a prosecution and a special brigade have been   settled in 2006 as new mechanisms to deal with corruption and public wealth mismanagement matters. This court operates on the same level as Courts of Appeal[22].  


3.2 Sources of Law

The operative supreme law is the Burundi Constitution adopted through a referendum in 2005.[23] The Constitution empowers parliament to make organic laws as well as statutory laws to give effect to the Constitution and facilitate conduct of public life within the state.[24]

International instruments specifically incorporated by the Constitution are equally directly applicable in the country. However, Burundi has adopted both monist[25] and dualist[26] systems to integrate international instruments.

Regulatory frameworks are envisaged to be developed by administrative bodies and may be modified by legislative procedure upon advice of the constitutional court.[27] It is explicitly provided also that Presidential Decrees duly advised by the Constitutional court can modify legislation.[28] The position of customary law however remains uncertain, since the constitution is silent on this issue. However, the practice is that at the local level, particularly matters of succession and inheritances are governed by customs.  Other sources are treaties and international conventions, jurisprudence and doctrine. There is a more recent compendium of Burundi codes and laws that has been published by the Ministry of Justice with the help of its key partners in 2010. This compendium consists of three tomes that can be found either in printed edition format or on the official web site of the Burundi ministry of Justice ( http://justice.gov.bi/spip.php?rubrique45)

Apart from that document, after promulgation, all legal instruments are published in an official gazette: BOB (Bulletin  Officiel du Burundi) which is published on a  monthly basis. There are also other institutions that have their projects of gathering of legal instruments such as Reseau documentaire de l’ Afrique des Grands Lacs , Centre d'Etudes et de Documentation Juridiques (CEDJ), Main Library of  University of Burundi,  Department of Judicial and Contentious Affairs of Ministry of Justice, Global Rights. As far as case law is concerned, there is no compendium of cases. However some cases dealing with special issues (sexual matters) can be found in some NGO like, Avocats Sans Frontieres, Association des Femmes Juristes.


3.3 Judicial Structure

Pyramidal Judicial Structure


There is no system of compilation of cases and other judicial decisions. Each court and tribunal has its own system of keeping information and cases which can be found in the relevant court or tribunal. There is a project of gathering national jurisprudence conducted by RCN and Global Rights ( NGOs) which is still going on.


4.  Status of International Law and Ratifications of Relevant Treaties


The Burundi constitution, unlike National Constitutions of neighboring countries, has specifically incorporated key human rights instruments. Article 19 of the Constitution provides thus:


The rights and duties proclaimed and guaranteed, among others, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are an integral part of the constitution of the Republic of Burundi.”


It is submitted that the provisions of article 19 of the Constitution are radical and far reaching as the main international and regional human rights instruments have the force of law, capable of being relied upon in domestic litigation and policy development. Incorporation in this case therefore amounts to domestication, and potentially makes Burundi a monist state with respect to these specific instruments. This progressive prima facie status has however not been tested in courts which may render a different opinion.


Treaties other than those specifically domesticated by the constitution require ratification and domestication.[29] The ratification power of the executive is further limited with respect to treaties that have the effect of engaging state resources, in which case, a specific legislation is required.[30]


5.  Status of Reporting


Burundi’s reporting record has been far from satisfactory. A few examples will demonstrate this assertion.  In July 2005, Burundi submitted its initial report under the Convention Against Torture, ten years later than it was expected; its initial report under CEDAW submitted on 1st June 2000 was seven years late; and its initial report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child submitted on 19th March 1998 was six years late.[31] However, reporting under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has been fairly timely and the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, quite regular.[32]


State implementation of Concluding Observations of treaty bodies has not been systematically pursued. While there is evidence that some of the recommendations have been partially implemented, it is also obvious that some recommendations have not been taken seriously by Burundi. This differential approach to implementation reveals a disconnection between the political commitments made by the state and the policy imperatives being pursued. For instance, it can be said that recommendations relating to women have been taken a little more seriously, while that relating to indigenous communities, particularly the Batwa, and remain in abeyance. The CERD’s concluding observation recommended thus:


“[that] when introducing quotas for ethnic groups, the Government also consider introducing measures, as permitted under article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and outlined in the Committee's general recommendation 23 on women in public life, to increase the participation of women in decision-making at all levels. It emphasizes the importance of strict adherence to principles of gender equality in all reconstruction efforts.” [33]


It can be said that the provisions of article 164 of the current constitution that guarantees a minimum of 30% women in the national assembly, is for instance a response to CERD’s recommendation. This contrasts sharply with the total failure by the state to implement recommendations, such as the concluding observations by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, [34]touching on indigenous minorities such as the Batwa.


6.  National Human Rights Institutions


Apart from the Constitutional court, whose mandate is to interpret the bill of rights, [35]the other main public institution seized with human rights protection and promotion purpose is the Ministry of Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender ( the Ministry), the creation of which is viewed as the highest level of political commitment by the government of Burundi in protecting and promoting human rights. Up-to-now, the ministry has however failed to undertake any meaningful measures aimed at promoting the constitutional provisions on human rights. Reports of abuse of rights by military forces and police are still rampant, and the existence of the ministry does not seem to have made any differences.[36] Cases of extrajudicial killings have been reported these last days by either Burundian civil society organizations, international NGOs like Human Rights Watch or the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB)


Despite this, the country has established in 2011 the National Independent Commission of Human Rights to monitor state compliance with international standards as well as constitutionally protected rights. Furthermore, the institution of an Ombudsman which is constitutionally sanctioned to receive complaints of state maladministration; including instances of human rights violations[37] is another national relevant institution that plays an important role for the sake of human rights in Burundi.


Also, Burundian and partners of Burundi wait impatiently for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Burundi, the two mechanisms of Transitional Justice for which has opted the majority of Burundi people interviewed by the Tripartite Committee to conduct the consultations of the population on Transitional Justice . It is hoped that within this new framework, the Batwa in Burundi would be able to expose the atrocities they have suffered in the context of genocide.[38]


7. National Councils


The constitution of the Republic of Burundi has established different councils that play key roles related to some particular issues. These councils have been set up in order to allow the citizens to largely take part in management of the affair of the nation[39]. They are:


  1. The National Council for Unity and Reconciliation

It is a consultative committee. Among its main tasks this council gives advices upon unity, peace and reconciliation related issues. It follows carefully Burundi society in the whole process of unity and reconciliation recovery and initiates activities aimed to rehabilitation of the traditional institution of Bashingantahe. The members of this council are nominated by the President of the Republic collaborating with the two deputy presidents. To choose them, two criterions are applied: one must be publicly known for his integrity and his high sensitivity to the welfare of the nation and its unity[40].


  1. The national observatory for the prevention and eradication of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity


It is also a consultative committee which regularly monitors Burundi society’s evolution in terms of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity related issues. This is done to prevent and eradicate the crimes in question. It also promotes the legislation against genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and monitors its strict implementation.  This council is organized by an organic law which determines its missions, composition and organization[41].


  1. The National council for security


This consultative committee helps the president of the republic and the government to conceive policy in security matters, follows the country in terms of security and in conception of strategies of defense, security and the up-keeping of order in case of crises. Its members are nominated by the President of the Republic.[42]


D.    National Economical and social council


With a consultative status, this corps’ competence involves all economic and social development features of the country. It must be consulted upon every development plan, environment and natural resources conservation, regional and sub-regional integration[43].


E.     National council of Communication


This is a more technical council which, beside its consultative role, can lay decisions to promote and safeguard the free press and to allow the equal access of all opinions to public Medias.  Its members come from press milieu and news consumers[44].


  1. Te Great Council of the Judiciary (Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature)


This council is far different from the five others listed above. Its mission is closely connected with the justice sector. The Great council of the judiciary plays a key role for a good administration of justice. This council, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi, is guarantor of the independence of the judiciary. This is the upper disciplinary instance of the judiciary. It receives complaints of citizens or the Ombudsman against professional behaviors of magistrates. Also, pleas of magistrates concerning their carrier or appeals against disciplinary actions to magistrates are addressed to this council.    The dismissal of magistrates for professional misconducts or incompetency can be done under the only request of this council[45]


However, the setting up of this council has been denounced as the handicap of the independence of the Judiciary. For the opinion, a council like this one cannot play efficiently its role of safeguarding the independence of the judiciary while chaired by the President of the Republic assisted by the Minister of Justice[46].


8. New tendencies 


In 2009, Burundi has adopted a new penal code that has abolishes the death penalty. However, this same code criminalizes the homosexuality[47]. This provision has been denounced as discriminatory and either international or local human rights organizations claimed for its withdrawal in the criminal code. Following this penal code, a bill of the code of penal procedure lies in front of the National Assembly, there is about three years. This bill predicts many innovations that can change several aspects of Burundi legal system. It improves juvenile justice, integrates a lot of principles to protect human rights.


Also, Burundi is changing some laws such the law on the press and the law regulating public manifestations and introducing new laws as the law upon the political opponents. These laws are being discussed and more than one people are afraid of regression in terms of public freedoms enjoyment throughout these three bills.


The executive is envisioning amending the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi. Some political stakeholders are worried by this planned amendment and then consider that the political mood which is nowadays in Burundi is rather unfavorable for such action.


Furthermore, a general estate of the judiciary is being held and Burundians hope that salutary measures to improve Burundi legal systems are going to be concluded.




Actually there is a negative vision of justice that may be attributed to an ethno-political perception of the Burundian  system, particularly in criminal matters. The magistrates and the police are thus first of all perceived according to their ethnic group and seen as biased in favour of it. They are perceived by opinion as more working for the benefits of the executive and the political parties than working for the goals of justice.


Moreover, the formal system is severely jeopardised by perceptions of impunity and the lack of enforcement of judiciary decisions. In general, the formal judicial apparatus did not manage to deal efficiently with the crisis of 1993 and its effects.


One hears of people saying that the prosecution of the murders and assassinations related to the crisis concern only ‘small fish’ and the ‘big fish’ get away. Public outcry is specifically directed against cases such as the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye, or crimes against humanity or genocide that are not dealt with even if their final settlement would have gone a long way towards restoring the rule of law.[48]


The impunity in Burundi is a result of the wrong ruling the country during the last 30 years. Impunity has been denounced by all parties but in different manner according to ethnic sensibilities. In as much as the Hutu community condemns the repression that took place in 1965, 1972, 1988 and 1993, the Tutsi community also denounced the amnesty given by Buyoya following the events of Ntega and Maragara in 1988 as well as those who committed acts of genocide with the support of FRODEBU in 1993. Also ‘mob justice’ takes encouragement from the impunity for offences and crimes, and is a negation of the justice system. However, it is obvious that some judges are guilty of corruption and other abuses of office. The reconstruction and reconciliation of the communities require that all accused persons should be arrested and brought to trial.


Finally, it must be mentioned that the formal system is severely lacking funds. The budget of the Justice Department (some 4.6 billion FBu) in 2004 amounted to 3 per cent of the national budget, and 25 per cent of the Justice Department’s budget was devoted to the penitentiary sector.


7.  Burundi Links




For further information on Burundi’s Government Institutions, Parliament, the National Commission, and Judicial courts, visit the Burundi government official site.


Media, News, and Information


Universite du Burundi (History of the University, the library, research centers, etc.)

University of Pennsylvania Burundi Page

Burundi news, as well as regional news and exclusive interviews

Information on Burundi

Portail Internet sur le Burundi

Studio Ijambo and Radio Isanganiro (radio sponsored by Search for Common Ground-Burundi, formed with the goal of reducing ethnic conflict and encouraging reconciliation

Burundi news

Burundiyouth.com (A movement of youth that tries to understand the causes of the crisis that our country is going through. The movement is a kind of news group for those who love Burundi and look for ways to put an end to the actual situation and offer all Burundians a prosperous and peaceful country.)

Site for News in English and French

Site for the Burundi Human Rights league "ITEKA"

Detailed analysis of Burundian situation through different original and interactive rubrics

Africa news


Nonprofit NGOs and Foundations


Search for Common Ground - a NGO based in Washington, D.C. working to reduce ethnic conflict and encourage reconciliation)

NDI.org (a nonprofit organization which seeks to promote democratic institutions in new and emerging democracies. It has 33 pages on how to live in democracy in Burundi)

International Foundation for Elections Systems - IFES has a project in Burundi to support the implementation of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accords (APRA) and promote community reintegration and stabilization through a sub-grant program-Burundi Initiative for Peace (BIP)

Human Rights Watch - This Web site has a lot of reports about Burundi - click on Info by Country - then click on Burundi


United States Institute of Peace: Preventing genocide in Burundi, lessons from International Diplomacy

International Crisis Group

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Economy, Business, and Trade


Burundi Coffee Company

Interbank Burundi s.a.

Intercontact Services s.a.




National Council of Burundi Churches

an Evangelical Christian mission agency working in partnership with the Anglican Church in Burundi, Rwanda, south-western Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo




Site for information sharing for women

US Agency for International Development - USAID assistance to Burundi

Information by country- Burundi


[1] However, the definition of an ethnic group can not be applied to the Burundian context. This because apart from Batwa ethnic group that exhibit some differences making them to be known as indigenous people , all the three groups shares the same territory, the culture and language.

[2] GDP per capita Gross Domestic product (GDP) is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output. GDP Per Capita is Gross Domestic Product divided by mid-year population. Growth is calculated from constant price GDP data in local currency.( see source as indicated on the table above)

[3] Lewis J The Batwa Pygmies of the Great Lakes Region (2000) 5

[4] It is a traditional institution of elders which was handling disputes

[5] One can refer to the preamble  of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[6] Article 95 and 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005 )

[7] The Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi signed in 2000 under the mediation of Presidents Nyerere and later Mandela provided the link during the period of constitutional crisis in Burundi. See for instance here  (assessed 20-2-2007)

[8] Article 129 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[9] Article 147 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005). Oversight of exercise of presidential power is another function of parliament.

[10] Article 158 of The Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[11] Article 159 of The Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[12] Article 161 of The Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[14] The bill related to inheritance has been submitted to the Parliament from 2005, no decision has been yet taken upon

[15] Ntahombaye, Ph. and Kagabo, L,: Mushingantahe Wamaze Iki? –The Role of the Bashingantahe during the crisis’, University of Burundi, 2003, )

[16] Promulgated pursuant to article 205 para.3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[17]  This the basic administrative unity

[18]  The Law N°1/02 of 25th January 2010 revising the Law N°o1/ 016 of 20th April 2005 on the Organisation of Communal Administration

[19] Article 11 of the Code of Organization and Judicial Competence of 17 March 2005

[20] Article 228 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[21] Article 234 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[22] Law N°1/36 of  13th December 2006 creating the Court Against Corruption

[23] While there is no explicit provision to on the supremacy of the constitution, the same can be inferred from article 228 of the constitution, which empowers the constitutional court to determine the constitutionality of laws and regulatory Acts. It is thus assumed that inconsistency with the constitution will invalidate the other laws, which by parity of reasoning rank lower than the constitution.

[24] Article 159 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[25] Article 292of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[26] Article 290 of the Constitution of the republic of Burundi (2005)

[27] Article 160 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[28] Article 160 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[29] Article 292of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[30]  Article 129of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[31] See here (assessed on 20-4-2007) for information on Burundi’s reporting under various treaty bodies.

[32] The initial report under ICCPR was submitted on time on 4th November 1991 while the 7th and 8th Report under ICERD was submitted on 9th March 1994

[33] Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women : Burundi. 02/02/2001.accessed from here (assessed on20-4-2007)

[34] Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Burundi. 16/10/2000 CRC/C/15/Add.133. (Paragraph 77 & 78):

[35] Article 228 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[36] See Lemarchand R, Burundi’s Endangered Transition (2006) here (assessed 20-2-2007)

[37] The office of the Ombudsman is established by article 237 to receive complaints of administrative maladministration, including human rights violations

[38] Batwa victimization in the context of the genocide has been documented by Minority Rights Group International, among others. See for instance here (assessed 30-2-2007)

[39] Article 268 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[40] Articles 269-273 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[41] Articles 274-276 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[42] Articles 277-279 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[43] Articles 280-283 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[44] Articles 284-288 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[45] Articles 210-212 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005)

[46] About the presidency of the Great Council of Justice, see the Article 219 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (2005) 

[47] Article 567 of the penal code of Burundi (2009)

[48]  Ntahombaye, Ph. and Kagabo, L as above.