MPs concerned over settlement of land conflicts

Members of Parliament adopted two bills related to the functioning, mission, and organization of the National Commission on Land and other Properties-CNTB and its Special Court. They also raised some concerns.

MPs adopted two bills on the National Commission on Land and Other properties and its special court

MPs have raised concerns in relation to some cases settled by the Special Court when complainants made appeals. MP Simon Bizimungu also raised concerns related to the compensation fund provided for in the Arusha Agreement for good -faith purchasers.

According to him, Article 9 of the Arusha Agreement on the reconstruction and development stipulates that the compensation fund will help support good-faith purchasers. “They were removed from their properties which were later on given to the first owners. If the real buyers exist, how did CNTB deal with this issue when the compensation fund wasn’t established yet?” he says.

MP Fabien Banciryanino wonders if the two bills are not in contradiction with the Burundi Constitution. He says Article 210 of the Constitution stipulates that all cases must be handled in courts. “Don’t you think the two bills would cause problems given that the Constitution contradicts their content”, he asked.

As for MP André Ndayizamba, the two bills violate the juridical principles already known in Burundi. “Low class people are victims of the government action,” he says adding that people should be evicted after all the possible appeals have been made.

Aimée Laurentine Kanyana, Minister of Justice says the National Commission’s duty is to listen to all complainants before taking a decision. She, however, says, complainants should also appeal to the special court on land and other properties which would rule on the final decision when one party is not satisfied with the judgment.

“I can confirm that there is no contradiction between the two bills and the constitution in relation to different explanations provided,” she says.

Mrs Kanyana also says the establishment of the compensation fund has encountered the interference of foreigners during the Arusha Agreement negotiation.

“They promised Burundians to sufficiently support all national commissions provided for in the Arusha Agreement but in vain”, she says adding that Burundi government has continued to work towards achieving its goals despite problems. She also says the Special Court did its best to make fair judgments: “No person has ever been left homeless”.

The National Commission on land and other properties was established in 2006 and its key objective is to identify all land and other property related disputes between the victims, third party and/or public or private services.