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Library Collection des arrêts fonciers modèles de la Cour suprême et des Cours d’appel du Burundi

Collection des arrêts fonciers modèles de la Cour suprême et des Cours d’appel du Burundi

Collection des arrêts fonciers modèles de la Cour suprême et des Cours d’appel du Burundi

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Date of publication
November 2022
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The Supreme Court of Burundi has just published a collection of land case law which constitutes volume 5 of the "Jurisprudence Review of the Supreme Court of Burundi". This collection was officially presented to the public on December 15, 2022.

Jurisprudence designates the "set of solutions provided by court decisions in the application of the Law (in particular in the interpretation of the law when it is obscure) or even in the creation of the Law (when it is necessary to complete the law, supplement a rule that is lacking)”.

This noble activity was carried out in accordance with Article 25 of Law No. 1/21 of 3/8/2019 governing the Supreme Court of Burundi which provides for the publication of its case law every six months. This case law comes at the right time, especially since it affects a very sensitive area in the lives of Burundians.

Indeed, the proliferation of land disputes harms the social climate and security. The management of these land conflicts remains problematic both at the community level and at the level of the courts. Land disputes represent the most numerous civil cases brought before the courts. Nearly half of the land disputes brought before the courts relate to inheritance law and are therefore essentially intra-family.

The issue of succession in Burundi is complicated by the absence of a law to govern it. Indeed, to this day, this area is governed by custom. Even the land code, the main legal text in the field, implicitly refers to custom, particularly with regard to conflicts relating to inheritance (article 29 of the land code).

However, the custom is neither uniform nor even less codified to know the content. Moreover, the Burundian custom centered on the patriarchal system is perceived as discriminatory in relation to girls and women who do not inherit real estate on the same footing as their brothers.

The objective of this collection of land case law is to help legal practitioners (magistrates, lawyers, etc.) and beneficiaries of justice to refer to it in the event of legal vacuum or vagueness in order to standardize practices and better do justice to all, men and women. It should be noted that the judgments selected to be erected as models are illustrated by their consistency with the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi (articles 13 and 19) and the legal instruments which have been regularly ratified by Burundi, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" and the "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights".  

As for its content, the collection is composed of the preface of the President of the Supreme Court, the foreword as well as 29 judgments collected at the level of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal of Burundi. These judgments are divided into 9 land issues, namely: (1) disputes related to the sharing of family property; (2) the rights of natural children in the estate of their maternal grandfather; (3) the status of the female survivor; (4) the rights of children from different beds; (5) sharing and freedom to test; (6) the thirty-year prescription; (7) rights of way; (8) the prior consent of the seller's spouse; (9) the sale of an undivided thing.

It should be noted that these judgments were commented on by experienced jurists from professional and academic circles, under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

This publication of case law is undoubtedly a way to improve the efficiency of justice in general and land justice in particular.

The compendium of land case law was compiled with the support of the Land and Development Expertise Center, LADEC in acronym ( ) as part of the implementation of the Project "Prevention and Resolution of Land Conflicts  " (PRCF), financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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Supreme Court of Burundi

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