17 May 2017

Burundi: NGOs Coalition Lobby for Increased Budget for Justice Ministry

OAG, ACJB and Cordaid team up to advocate the increase of the budget allotted to the Ministry of Justice. Basing their conclusion on the analysis of the 2016 budget, the NGOs say low budget has a negative impact on the access to justice for all.

After an analysis that has shown the insufficiency of the budget of the Justice Ministry with repercussions on the access to justice for all, three NGOs advocate increasing the budget.

Michel Masabo, a consultant who carried out the analysis of the budget of 2016, says "there are some budget lines showing the government's preoccupation of people's needs for justice", but "the effort remains insufficient".

As a consequence, judges are hindered to carry out their duty as they should. Godefroid Manirambona, the Chairman of Observatory of Government's Action (OAG) says, with the increase of the budget, "judges will have means that will allow them to adequately satisfy the needs of citizens seeking justice".

OAG, a local NGO that sees that the government is fulfilling its promises, collaborated with the Association of Burundi Catholic Lawyers (ACJB) and Cordaid on the "Analysis of the Budget of the Ministry of Justice for 2016".

The activity is within the framework of their programme called "Strategic Partnership in Lobbying and Advocacy for the Access to Justice for All".

The study highlighted the lack of enough qualified judges and the slow course of justice as consequences of the low budget.

For instance, Bujumbura Court of Appeal, that has the highest average of sentence execution, treated a monthly average of 99.6 cases but executed only 10.7.

The Courts of Appeal of Bururi and Ngozi provinces treated respective monthly averages of 33.5 and 72.66 but executed none.

In some cases, the lack of means of transport hinders the execution of judgments. This may cause judges to make parties involved in legal cases pay for the transport which can result in corruption.

In regard to protecting judges from being influenced, Masabo says, "one way to prevent them from being corrupted is to raise their pay".

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