Intervention of a participant

BUJUMBURA August 31st (ABP) – The Chief of the Bujumbura City Court of Appeal, Ms. Nadine Nsabimana, called on the barristers on Friday August 30, 2019 to provide supervision to lawyers  and, if necessary, to enforce disciplinary sanctions to lawyers who exhibit behavioral discrepancies.

Ms. Nsabimana was speaking during the ceremonies marking the judicial return of the lawyers of the Bar of Bujumbura, 2019-2020 edition, at the end of the judicial vacations of August 2019. She also asked the barristers to wear a professional card which distinguishes them from other users of justice.

She criticized some lawyers for showing behavioral discrepancies. According to her, some lawyers confuse their profession with that of commissionaires. Others do not follow the instructions for the work of lawyers or do not do proper diligences, leaving their clients confused.

She recalled that the oath of the lawyer is the foundation of the ethics of their profession and governs the relationship they have with their clients, their colleagues and sisters, the council of the Bar Association, professional bodies and the judicial institutions. She thanked the lawyers who demonstrate dignified behavior and who serve the plaintiffs appropriately and according to the rules of art.

According to the barrister of the Bar of Bujumbura, Me Jean de Dieu Muhuzenge, the Bar Association faces many challenges related to the socio-economic situation of Burundi. Ethical rules are violated by lawyers, he said, citing, among other things, the crime of corruption. He advised lawyers implicated in that dangerous crime to change, give up and repent. Those who have not yet been immersed in that evil have been called on to never do it for the sake of justice.

“We will find lawyers who always crisscross the corridors and offices of the judges who have taken their cases under advisement or who are going to sit there, who offer appointments for bribes, who have become lawyers who know the judges better than the law. Some lawyers engage in corruption or bribery, judges call lawyers to tell them that their cases have been taken under advisement and ask them to go and see them for a proper decision. It is difficult to recognize corrupt lawyers or magistrates because they are doing so clandestinely. While those who are implicated have not yet been unmasked, they will one day be discovered, and their bad deeds will turn against them”, said Muhuzenge, adding that lawyers convicted of corruption are expelled from the profession.

The lawyers present at the judicial return generally denounced what takes place in the courts. Some people said that clients or judges sometimes indulge lawyers in corruption.

A senior lawyer indicated that no plaintiff has asked her during her career to bribe the judge. She asked her sisters and brothers to keep control of themselves before accusing the judges or clients. Another lawyer deplored the fact that clients today prefer lawyers who know judges and not lawyers who know the law. He wondered what is to be done to change the situation because, he said, corruption had become a scourge.

During the month of August reserved for judicial vacations, there is no trial at the level of the courts. Only field trips are organized for finding or for execution of judicial decisions already rendered. Lawyers take the opportunity to better organize their work in their office.

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