October 27, 2016
Lawyers Armel Niyongere, Lambert Nigarura, Dieudonné Bashirahishize and Vital Nshimirimana, are seriously threatened in the exercise of their profession, since the Burundi authorities have requested the disbarment of these lawyers.
The four lawyers were involved in drafting a report on human rights violations in Burundi. This report was discussed during a session of the UN Committee against Torture in Geneva on 28 and July 29, 2016. Three of the four lawyers attended the session.
The government delegation of Burundi did not appear on the second day of the session. On that same day, the President of the Bar Association in Bujumbura, Burundi, received a request of the Attorney General of the Court of Bujumbura to disbar the lawyers. The lawyers are accused of involvement in several crimes, including “involvement in an insurrectionist movement.” If these lawyers were disbarred, this would mean they cannot exercise their profession anymore.
L4L and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) addressed ajoint letter to the President of the Republic of Burundi which has highlighted the UN Basic Principles on the Rights of Lawyers. Lawyers should be able to perform all of their professional functions without fear of (administrative) sanctions.