BUJUMBURA September 6th (ABP) – Among the files analyzed during the Cabinet meeting of August 31, 2022, was the bill revising the Code of Civil Procedure.
Civil procedure in Burundi is currently governed by Law No. 1/10 of May 13, 2004. According to the press release from the General Secretariat of the State, eighteen years after the implementation of this law and despite the advances made in this area, there are still some challenges that make access to justice difficult.
That is in particular the challenge linked to the slowness of judicial procedures, the difficulty linked to the execution of judicial decisions, the remoteness of the courts, the delaying maneuvers of the litigants, and others. In order to improve the administration of justice, it is imperative to review the code of civil procedure to adapt it to the imperatives of the moment. The problem related to certain methods of seizures is also raised in the law under revision.
Indeed, according to the press release, some seizures remain difficult although they constitute a guarantee to satisfy creditors. Another no less important challenge concerns the liability of agents and servants of the State for acts they have committed and which engage the responsibility of the State or its branches. Currently, the law provides that the State compensates the victims and turns against its agents by means of recourse action. This procedure should be modified for the efficiency and accountability of public officials.
The major innovations of that bill are, among others, the establishment of the pre-trial judge whose mission will be to ensure the fair conduct of the procedure, the reduction of procedural delays, the establishment of the dissenting opinion in the event of a disagreement during the deliberations and the reform of the appeal procedure, in order to reduce the congestion of the appeal courts, the reform of the means of execution, so that all wealth can be immobilized, apprehended, seized to offer a range of enforcement measures to creditors.
It is also about the authorization of the amicable sale before the forced sale, the abolition of the sale by way parée, the installation of the alternative modes of conflict resolution, like the conciliation and the arbitration, the clarification of the special rules of procedure in administrative matters, specifying that at the same time as the State or its subdivisions are summoned, the administrative official author of the contested decision or act must also be summoned to appear alongside the State lawyer and that in the event of a joint conviction, the execution will first concern the property of the administrative official and the procedure for eviction of defaulting tenants has been clearly defined.
At the end of the debate, the project was adopted with, among other recommendations, to correct the provision referring to the joint conviction of the State with its employee because criminal responsibility is always individual.