Saturday, 20 August 2011

Burundi: Boys Behind Bars

Burundi has no juvenile justice system and children above the age of 15 are tried as adults. By law any child under that age should not be imprisoned, but in a country recovering from civil war and where record keeping is scant, many underage children are slipping through the net and are being locked up. There is no legal aid, and there are only 106 lawyers for a population of over eight million people.

This is one of the reasons why three quarters of children are being held for long periods without trial. While wrongly imprisoned for two years, 62-year-old Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa found the body of a child prisoner who had been murdered. The incident affected him deeply and he decided to spend the rest of his life defending victims of injustice.

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