In need of a guardian angel Preserving the gains of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Stef Vandeginste
IOB working paper 2016.01

The Arusha Agreement of 28 August 2000 is an important stake of the ongoing crisis in Burundi. This paper analyses Burundi’s Arusha Agreement based achievements and suggests how they may be better protected through existing but strengthened institutional mechanisms. A political agreement of a hybrid nature, the Arusha Agreement contains a set of constitutional principles that have strongly inspired the current Constitution of 18 March 2005. The legal status of Protocol II of the Arusha Agreement has been recognised by the Constitutional Court, but its precise constitutional or supra-constitutional status needs to be further clarified. Furthermore, its enforcement of this text should not merely depend on a conjunctural political support. Two protection mechanisms, one political the other judicial, can ensure its respect. The Senate as well the Constitutional Court should be studied in more detail in order to reinforce their role as guardian angels of the Arusha Agreement. This paper intends to offer inspiration for that study and suggests some amendments of the powers of the Constitutional Court.

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