Coming up for hearing: on 22nd November 2021.

Reference filed: on 31st May 2021.

Articles: 6(d), 7(2), 8(1) (a) & (c), 23 (1) and 30(1) & (2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

Subject matter: Land dispute.

The Applicant alleges to have inherited a piece of land situated in Bujumbura alongside his father’s other family members and additionally acquired ten hectares independently adjacent to the inherited land. That, a complaint was filed against them by a group of families who claimed part of their father (deceased) estate on allegation that, their father acquired the property at the height of the 1972 civil war. According to the Applicant, the deceased had brought the land from a former settler through a power of attorney. The Respondent State’s National Commission of Land and Other Property dismissed the claim on 11th November 2014.

However, the Applicant alleges that, to his surprise the Respondent twisted the matter and declared through the said Commission, the property belongs to the State a fact that was neither pleaded nor in issue. He unsuccessfully appealed against the said decision, and his efforts to further appeal to the Burundi’s Special Court of Land and Other Property (first and second degree) were fruitless.

He therefore faults the Respondent for disentitling him his lawfully acquired property in a manner inconsistent with Articles 6(d), 7(2) and 8(1) (a) & (c) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Further states, the Respondent disregarded relevant law at the time of acquisition of the property and official and land register records that clearly shows the property belongs to him. That, due to the illegal processes he alleges to have lost valuable business opportunities to fully develop the property, earn his livelihood and suffered financial losses.

He therefore prays the Court to find the Reference merited, and declare the Respondent cancellation to his title to the property and that of his late father contravened the Treaty provisions.  Further prays for Court declaration that, the acquisition of the property without compensation violated the Treaty, restore him into possession of the landed property, grant compensation and costs to the Reference.

The Respondent opposes the Reference arguing that, the Supreme Court of Land and Other Property did not violate the Treaty provisions and had lengthy demonstrated the deceased had never acquired rights over the disputed property. Further states, since 1963 after the departure of one THEY Pierre, the disputed property was counted among abandoned lands that became automatically property of the State and orders and reliefs sought by the Applicant are not grounded and pray for dismissal of the Reference with costs.

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