Burkina Faso: lawyers protest against judicial shutdown

About a hundred Burkinabe lawyers took to the streets of Ouagadougou on Monday to condemn the shutdown of the judiciary, which they vex has paralysed judicial activities in the country since October 2018.

“The Burkina Faso Bar Association denounces and condemns the blocking of the judicial system, the massive and indiscriminate violation of the rights of users of justice,” said Paulin Salambéré, Bar President, after a march in front of the Ministry of Justice.

He noted that there are currently 808 remand prisoners awaiting trial, 1,640 accused prisoners whose cases are under investigation and 3,641 convicted prisoners in prison whose sentences are hampered by dysfunctions.

“This complete blockage is explained by a conflict between the prison security guard (GSP) corps and the state since October 2018, and the clerks’ corps officials since 19 April 2019,” he explained.

Salambéré added that, “since October 2018, we have noted the impossibility of transferring to the various prosecutors’ offices, the persons against whom criminal proceedings are initiated and the detention of persons in judicial police units despite the clear expiry of the time limits for police custody.”

He also denounced “the failure to hold hearings in flagrante delicto and direct summons, as well as the impossibility of carrying out interrogations in the offices of the introductory judges”, .

The Bar Association “invites the State to urgently seek solutions to ensure the resumption of all judicial activities, to put an immediate end to any human rights violation resulting from the blocking of the judicial institution”.

This protest march is the second since 1992, when lawyers demonstrated for the establishment of the Burkinabe bar.

The lawyers of Burkina Faso will be on strike until May 6.

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