Burundian Bar yet to achieve independence

“The violation of lawyers’ independence is one of the challenges Bujumbura Bar is faced with,” said Jean de Dieu Muhuzenge, President of Bujumbura Bar at a press conference held on 21 January on the occasion of the celebration of the 70th anniversary since Bujumbura Bar was created.

Jean de Dieu Muhuzenge, the president of Bujumbura Bar

He gave the example of a magistrate from Muramvya High Court who recently ordered a police officer to arrest a lawyer who was defending his clients in court.

The president of the Bar considers this act as the violation of lawyer’s independence as he prevented him from defending his client’s interest.

“The lawyer was released thanks to the intervention of the Bujumbura Bar after spending more than 4 hours in custody, “said the Bar’s president adding that he was arrested without an arrest warrant.

Lawyer Muhuzenge also talks about the violation of the professional code of ethics by some lawyers. “Some lawyers are corrupt and others violate contracts with their clients.”

He regrets that corrupt lawyers do so discreetly, what makes it difficult for the Bar to apprehend and punish them.
He also says that clients sometimes refuse to pay the lawyers who assisted them. “The bar association has set up a council responsible for resolving conflicts between lawyers and clients. It will also rule on the cases of unruly lawyers,” said the president of Bujumbura Bar.

He added that the non-execution of rendered judgment has a negative consequence on the performance of lawyers.
According to him, there are several rendered judgments that are not executed for various reasons.

“Normally, when a lawyer defends a case, s/he obtains part of their fees when they start the case, but expect the rest of their fees at the end of the procedure.

When the case is not executed, it takes a longer time for a lawyer to get their due,” he explains, adding that the lawyers are often put under pressure by their clients who accuse them of not making efforts to have the rendered judgment executed.