Burundi Lawyers disbarred
On 16 January 2017, the ‘Secrétaire Général et porte parole de la Cour Suprême’ of Burundi posted a message on her Twitter account, stating lawyers Vital Nshimirimana, Armel Niyongere, Dieudonnee Bashirahishize from the Bujumbura Bar Association, and to suspend Lambert Nigarura for one year. The lawyers have to date not been duly notified.
In October 2016, Lawyers for Lawyers and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) addressed a joint letter to the President of the Republic of Burundi, after we learned about the request of the Attorney General of the Court of Bujumbura to the President of the Bar Association in Bujumbura, to disbar the lawyers. On 27 September 2016, the President of the Bar Association in Bujumbura decided to dismiss this request. His decision was appealed not long after.
It is believed that the disbarment of the lawyers could be connected to their involvement in drafting a report on human rights violations in Burundi. This report was discussed during a session of the UN Committee against Torture in Geneva on 28 and July 29, 2016. Three of the four lawyers attended the session. The government delegation of Burundi did not appear on the second day of the session. On that same day, the President of the Bar Association in Bujumbura, Burundi, received the request of the Attorney General of the Court of Bujumbura to disbar the lawyers. The lawyers are accused of involvement in several crimes, including “involvement in an insurrectionist movement.”
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