Press Release – Burundi Crisis: PALU and EACSOF Jointly file a case at the EACJ Challenging the Constitutional Court of Burundi and CENI’S Decisions Permitting President Nkurunziza’s Third Term Re-Run for Elections (06.07.2015)

Monday 6 July 2015, the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) together with the East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF) filed an application at the East African Court of Justice. The purpose of this application is to obtain a ruling from the East African Court of Justice on the legality of the decision reached by the Constitutional Court of Burundi on 5th May 2015, which allowed President Nkurunziza to run for a third term in elections. This decision was reached despite the following;
  1. On 28th August 2000, the Government of the Republic of Burundi signed the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement (Arusha Agreement) which provides that the President of the Republic of Burundi “shall be elected for a term of 5 years, renewable only once. No one may serve more than 2 presidential terms.”
  2. The Constitution of Burundi clearly provides that “The President of the Republic is elected by universal direct suffrage for a mandate of five years renewable one time.”
  3. That the decision by the Constitutional Court of Burundi was reached under great pressure and intimidation. This became apparent when the vice president of the Court, Mr. Sylvere Nimpagaritse fled the country and the decision was thus reached in the absence of a full bench.
Civil Society Organisations are convinced that the people of Burundi are unhappy with the decision of the Constitutional Court and the President’s bid to run for a third term, however elections are set to proceed despite the political turmoil and unrest, and notwithstanding the following:
  1. The African Union and East African Community have made calls for the elections to be postponed;
  2. Threats and intimidation continue: On 28th June 2015, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Pie Ntavyohanyuma fled the country, on 25th June 2015 the 2nd Vice President of the Republic, Mr. Gervais Rufyikiri also fled, on 30th May 2015, the Vice-President of the Commission électorale nationale indépendante/Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) of the Republic of Burundi, Ms. Spes-Caritas Ndironkeye, together with a Member of the said Commission, Ms. Illuminata Ndabahagamye fled as well.
PALU and EACSOF are hoping to obtain the following remedies from the East African Court of Justice:
  1. A Declaration that the decisions by the Constitutional Court of Burundi and the CENI violate the Arusha Agreement and the Constitution of Burundi;
  2. A Declaration that the decision of the Constitutional Court of Burundi violates the treaty for the establishment of the East African Community;
  3. An Order to quash the decision of the Constitutional Court of Burundi and the CENI’s decision which allowed Pierre Nkurunziza to run illegally for third term.
Click here to read the official press statement by the Burundi Civil Society Organizations engaged in Citizens’ initiative to ensure compliance with the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi and the Constitution.
For more information about the case, follow through our social pages using#PALUatCourt #BurundiCrisis and please contact the following:Donald Deya, Chief Executive Officer, Pan African Lawyers Union
Email: secretariat@lawyersofafrica.org

Morris Odhiambo, President, East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum
Email: odhotiato@gmail.com

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