Among prisoners of MSD Movement for Solidarity and Democracy, there are two under eighteen children who have been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. The Spokesman of “SOJEPAE”, Youth Solidarity for Peace and Childhood indicates that children should be treated in a particular way.-By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse
For David Ninganza, children who are under 18 have been questioned with adults whereas children should be handled accordingly. Children’s rights have been violated when the policemen have made several arrests of MSD members, both adults and children. People have been apprehended and detained in mass without the age distinction. “Children are never perpetrators, adults prepare crimes while children are simply following them,” he explains. Ninganza condemns the police: “children should be accompanied with their lawyers. It is strictly forbidden that an under-18 person be examined or questioned about a matter that commits his life without being accompanied by his parents or his lawyer or lawyers,” he highlights.
A Court decision is dismissed by a Court of Appeal decision
The spokesman of SOJEPAE asks lawyers who plead for those children to appeal. He also demands the tribunal and the Court of Appeal to take into consideration the age of the accused and their living conditions in prison. “All detention centers in Burundi do not fulfill norms of children accommodation,” he regrets. He adds that they are accustomed that public hearings are often late; he insists that this children’s matter be a priority. He requests the Government to create a special Court of Justice for children under 18.