• Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

The Minister of Justice responds to questions from the standing committee on justice and human rights


Jun 7, 2024

BUJUMBURA, June 7th (ABP) – The Minister of Justice, Mrs Domine Banyankimbona, was invited to appear before the National Assembly on Wednesday, 5 June 2024, to answer questions from parliamentarians who are members of the standing committee in charge of justice and human rights, in connection with the raids carried out in various judicial departments in the country.

The aim of those visits was to raise awareness among the administrative staff of the justice sector in order to monitor closely the work carried out by the magistrates of the courts and tribunals, to take stock of the situation in

of dungeons, taking into account their prison capacity, the number of prisoners and the way they are treated.

Those visits were also carried out to monitor the support provided to prisons in accordance with the new State policy on the use of funds, to monitor the application of prison regulations and to provide input to improve the organisation of activities and services within prisons.

After the visit, the parliamentarians on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights took stock of the overcrowding in the prisons, where the number of inmates far exceeds the expected prison population.

                                                                                           View of the MPs

According to the Minister of Justice, that situation is costing the government a lot of money in terms of the basic services offered to prisoners, notably food and healthcare. That situation arises at a time when those prisoners represent a potentially useful workforce for the country.

In the commission’s report, discussions with the prison managers revealed that some of them were responsible for the large prison population.

Proposals were put forward to reduce the prison population, while discussions with prisoners identified the main challenges facing them and proposed solutions.

At the end of those raids, the parliamentarians on the committee suggested that human dignity should be given priority over imprisonment.

The MPs appealed to the Head of State to show clemency and release prisoners who had served a quarter of their sentences and who had committed minor offences. They also called for the computerisation of the database for keeping prisoners’ files.

They thanked the President of the Republic for the release of 508 prisoners who had been prosecuted for minor offences, and called on the judiciary to identify other people who had been illegally and unjustly detained in order to grant them their freedom. They asked the investigators to investigate the cases properly and to detain only those with serious indications of guilt, to avoid overcrowding the detention centres.