BUJUMBURA March 28th (ABP) – The Observatory of Government Action (OAG) has organized since Tuesday March 26, 2019 a training workshop on the functioning of regional and international bodies in matters of access to justice, for members and staff of six partner organizations of the “Strategic Partnership in Lobbying and Advocacy for Community Needs” program.
This three-day workshop was organized in collaboration with the Bar of Bujumbura and in partnership with the NGO “CORDAID”.
According to the legal representative of the OAG, Mr. Godefroid Manirambona, the right to access justice is guaranteed by several legal instruments, both national, regional and international already ratified by Burundi. According to him, among the major challenges to be met are prominent promotion, protection and defense of human rights enshrined in this legal arsenal. Both need to master legal local, regional and international instruments to better identify gateways in advocacy at different levels.
For the Facilitator Leonardo Gacuko, “justice is a fundamental principle for every human being. Without justice, there is no peace, there is no fulfillment. There is rather resentment. The absence of justice is the source of all the evils and misfortunes of the peoples. Without justice, there will be a desire, a tendency to do justice”. He quoted Millicent Fenwick as saying, “People do not support the feeling of injustice. Poverty, cold and even hunger are more bearable than injustice”.
Mr. Gacuko pointed out that justice is a wealth, a treasure not releasable, unlike goods. Justice is therefore an existential need. According to him, the lack of justice internally is at the origin of international justice, designed to satisfy a need for justice not satisfied by national justice.
The worst atrocities in mankind have led to the creation of international or mixed jurisdictions to supplement the failure of States to protect human rights. International justice does not only concern States. Individuals can be active subjects of international justice, according to Gacuko.
He pointed out that international bodies are governed by the principle of subsidiarity or the complementarity of national bodies. This implies that a regional or international court will only conduct investigations and prosecutions if the national persons in authority are unwilling or unable to do so.
To seize regional or international jurisdictions, individuals are required to show the violation suffered at the national level that violates the treaty of a regional or international body. But sometimes the regional or international body does not have the competence to know individual requests if a State Party has not yet filed the declaration allowing individuals to seize it. Burundi, for example, has not yet made such a declaration to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights so that individuals can make requests. It has been recommended that international NGOs and national organizations advocate for this important step in the promotion of human rights.