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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Constitution-making in situations of extreme crisis: the case of Rwanda and Burundi
Author:Reyntjens, FilipISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Law
Geographic terms:Burundi
Subject:constitutional amendments
Abstract:Today, both in Rwanda and Burundi, considerable attempts are made to give the impression that power is exercised in a constitutional fashion, while clearly it is not: in Rwanda, subtle constitutional formulas hide a dictatorship; in Burundi, as the initial, 'old-fashioned' coup of October 1993 was called off, precisely because of international rejection, the successful creeping coup has been given a seal of constitutionality. Following its victory in Rwanda on 17 July 1994, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) departed from the provisions of the peace accord it had signed with the Rwandan coalition government in Arusha on 4 August 1993, and put in place a very different constitutional order, subsequently consecrated by the 'Fundamental Law' of 26 May 1995. In Burundi, the army and the opposition, by discrediting the government and Frodebu (Front pour la démocratie au Burundi), by using the Constitutional Court to paralyze the presidency and the National Assembly, and by organizing urban and rural violence, succeeded in imposing a de facto constitutional order which in effect shelved the 1992 Constitution and consolidated the achievements of the 1993 coup. In Burundi since early 1994, and in Rwanda since mid-1994, constitutional production has been instrumental in hiding an authoritarian and violent restructuring of power. Notes, ref.