A Burundian rights organisation is launching a black list of judges and magistrates it says "serve other interests than those of justice" amid claims the president's office controls the justice system and the police – which are supposed to provide security to the population.
Burundi's 19-months crisis has killed up to 2,000 people and pits supporters of President Pierre Nkurunziza against those who say his re-election in July 2015 for a third term violated the constitution.
As violence spread, Burundi broke off all relations with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and activists claim the justice system has appeared unable or unwilling to conduct credible and thorough investigations on a large number of occasions.
This week, SOS-Torture/Burundi, which was provisionally suspended at the end of last year, announced it was launching a campaign to identify unethical judges and magistrates of prosecutors' offices ahead of a reform of the Burundian judiciary system.
"For several years, there has been a discrepancy between theory and practice with regards to the role and duty of magistrates; judges no longer obey to the law but to political decision-makers, to the detriment of rights of the human person," the NGO said in a statement.
Describing biased and unfair judicial proceedings, SOS-Torture/Burundi pointed to the recent case of Caporal-chef Fulgence Ndayikengurutse. The military officer, who was arrested and allegedly "tortured" by the head of the intelligence services of the Muyinga Province following an alleged attack on a military camp, was forced to appear in court despite the fact he could barely stand up. Following the "speedy trial", he was handed a 30-year prison sentence and a FBU5m (£2,368, $2,967) fine.
"The procedure [...] such as that recently observed at the Muyinga High Court, is a ridiculous demonstration of the lack of independence and professional honesty, especially when the judges chose to coldly hear and condemn Corporal Fulgence and his friends of misfortune [who were] tortured.
"[It shows] that some magistrates allow themselves to be guided by the [regime in] power and violate their duties to render justice in all neutrality. This situation not only violates human rights, but also promotes impunity for crimes committed by certain administrative, military and police authorities who have become "untouchables".
SOS-Torture/Burundi said the list identifying "corrupt" magistrates will be published on several websites, and the organisation has called for testimonies.