Justice

Some MPs concerned about overnight search

The Minister of Justice presented a bill on the revision of the code of criminal procedure before the National Assembly this April 18, which was afterwards adopted. Among the amendments, the bill provides for an overnight search which has been a bone of contention among some MPs.

Among the 112 MPs present, 90 voted for it while 22 opposed it.

Among the 112 MPs present, 90 voted for it while 22 opposed it.

“The night search is very dangerous. One cannot know who is knocking and this will facilitate the break-in of thieves pretending to be security agents,” says Fabien Baciryanino, MP from Amizero y’Abarundi political coalition.

He also says he does not understand the raison d’être of this bill while the government says the country is peaceful.

As for Agathon Rwasa, First Deputy President of the National Assembly, he has said he is worried that security agents would come with extra weapons and deposit them in the targeted house to later on accuse households of illegally holding weapons what would not be easy to deny.“Why can’t they wait till it is morning? It is really worrisome,” he has said.

Gaudence Ntiranyibagira, another MP, wonders if family members will have the right to check whether or not the security agents do not bring extra weapons before they proceed with the search. She also says the government should remember that families have the right to privacy.

Aimée Laurentine Kanyana, Minister of Justice, says this overnight search will only be carried out in the case of force majeure.

Kanyana says this is done for the good of everyone and asks the people’s representatives to trust security agents. “Security forces fought for the country in critical period. They deserve your confidence. You should trust them and believe that they won’t bring weapons when they come to conduct night search.”

She also says this is not only done in Burundi adding that privacy can be disturbed for the sake of security. “This is even done in other countries. And people’s privacy has its limit”.

Overnight search has caused fear among Bujumbura residents since last year when the bill was first introduced to the Ministerial Council. People feared this would facilitate killings and robbery.

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