Burundi is a landlocked country in East Africa’s  African Great Lakes region. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania border the country. People belonging to the Twa, Hutu and Tutsi have lived in Burundi for over 500 years, and for over 200 years Burundi was an independent kingdom. During the early 20th century Germany colonized the region, which removed its independent status. The territory was ceded to Belgium following German-defeat post WWI.

The country gained its independence in 1962. Although the nation was originally ruled under the monarchy, after political unrule and instability it transitioned to a republic and one-party state in 1966. During the 1970s and 1990s, two civil wars and mass genocide left the country as one of the most underdeveloped, and poorest countries in the world. Today the country’s political system is based on a multi-party system under presidential representative democratic status. Today fewer than 15% of the nation’s population lives in urban areas, making it a highly rural economy.

Agriculture accounts for over 90% of the nation’s economy, with primary exports being coffee and tea. Cotton, maize, sweet potatoes, manioc, and bananas, are also produced in high volumes by the nation. A poor legal system, lack of economic development, lack of access to education, economic freedom, and high proliferation of AIDS/HIV viruses, make it one of the poorest nations, with one of the worst quality of life ratings worldwide.

The country currently has 21-registered political parties. The President is considered Head of State and Government. The nation’s constitution was established in 1996, and has since been revised to allow for election of two Vice Presidents, and to broaden the National Assembly seats in the government. The country also enacted a law in 2009 which criminalized homosexuality. The country officially left the International Criminal Court (ICC) in October 2017, after reports of killings, torture, and sexual violence/assault crimes. This makes the country the first to leave the ICC worldwide.

In Burundi, the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by the constitution, and is based on a Code of Organization and Judicial Competence from March 17, 2005.  The judiciary has both formal and informal ways to adjudicate conflict.

  • The Courts of Hills, or “intahe yok u mugina” involves elsders, or “abashingantahe“ and other elected officials can mediate disputes, however, they may not lay down punishments.
  • The “Courts of Residence” or Magistrate Courts handle both civil and criminal sentences, imposing jail sentences up to 2 years and civil fines of up to 1 million Burundi Francs.  It also oversees conflicts related to land matters and evictions.
  • County Courts, or Tribunaux de Grande Instance
  • Courts of Appeal based in Bujumbura, Ngozi, and Gitega
  • The Constitutional Court with the Supreme Court combine to make the High Court of Justice, which can try a sitting president and other members of the government for treason.

The National Law Review covers content related to Burundi, international affairs with African nations and the United Nations, international trade, and foreign relation news, are among the stories visitors will find on the site. Readers can also find news stories related to the country’s development, affairs, and effect of its government relations on its citizens, and surrounding African nations.


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