Avenue Muyinga, N° 30, City Quartier INSS, 6877 Bujumbura, Burundi
Théoneste received a degree in Law from the University of Burundi in 2016. He started his current position as the country program director in 2022, but he has worked at Burundi Bridges to Justice (BBJ) for many years. After serving for six months as a volunteer lawyer, in 2017, he became a project coordinator at BBJ. Before joining BBJ, he interned at Bujumbura High Court in the department of the Criminal Clerk and worked for the technology firm, NFT-Consult, in the contracts division. He also served as a legal researcher in the Juvenile Section of the Burundi National Police office, the Bujumbura office of the Prosecutor, and the High Court of Bujumbura. As an independent consultant, he performed project evaluations for international organisations such as the U.N. Development Program and FORDEV (Foundation for Capacity Building and Development).
In 2016, Théoneste authored the essay – “Sexual exploitation of minors in the Burundi criminal code” – at the University of Burundi, and performed research for Centre Seruka, an NGO which provides comprehensive care (medical, legal, judicial, and psychosocial) for survivors of sexual violence. In this role, he gained significant knowledge in the legal fields of sexual and gender-based violence, juvenile justice and children’s rights.
Janvier Ncamatwi – Legal Fellow
Father of four children, Janvier Ncamatwi holds a Master in Human Rights and Pacific Conflict Resolution. He has been a lawyer at the Burundi Bar Association since 2004. Prior to joining the Bar, Janvier Ncamatwi worked in the Burundian army, first as a major in the military and then as a military court judge. He has thus a thorough understanding of the Burundian criminal justice system, including the civil and military jurisdictions. Passionate about human rights, Janvier cooperates with several other NGOs, including ASF, Ligue Iteka and the Christian Association Against Torture (ACAT). In 2006, he spontaneously assisted twenty juvenile detainees of Muyinga prison with the result that all of them were either released or convicted to lower sentences.
Jean-Claude Barakamfitiye – IBJ African Regional Juvenile Justice & Youth Coordinator
Jean-Claude Barakamfitiye is a lawyer, trainer, mentor and consultant. He has been an active member of the Bujumbura Bar Association since 2013. He also holds a Masters’ Degree in Intellectual Property (MIP) and is a graduate of the Peace-Building and Conflict Transformation Program at the School for International Training, a program of the World Learning which is in Brattleboro (Vermont).
In February 2022, Jean-Claude was appointed to be the IBJ African Regional Juvenile Justice & Youth Coordinator. In this capacity, he focuses on promoting children’s rights and advocating for justice systems which protect the rights of the child not only in Burundi and the Great Lakes Region, but also across Africa. Previously, he served as Program Manager for IBJ’s affiliate office – Burundi Bridges to Justice (BBJ) – during which time he succeeded in increasing access to justice for Burundi citizens. He also oversaw BBJ’s Defender Resource Center in Bujumbura, a hub for volunteer lawyers providing vulnerable detainees citizens with early access to justice.
Jean-Claude’s many accomplishments include: 2008 laureate of the JANUSZ KORCZAK award for the rights of the child; Alumnus of the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship on Democracy and Development with Stanford University; and 2021-2022 Global Child Law Fellow with the Child Law International Alliance.
Aline Nijimbere – Legal Fellow
Married with three children, Aline Nijimbere is a lawyer. She has joined the Burundi Bar Association in June 2000. During her ten years experience as a legal practitioner, she has defended many indigent arrestees, especially individuals involved in civil war crimes for organizations such as the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi, Lawyers without Borders and local human rights organizations like APRODH and Ligue Iteka. Strong of her passion for the promotion of women and children’s rights, she has taken many cases of vulnerable women and juvenile detainees and members of ethnic minorities for the High Commissioner for Refugees via a local association, the Burundian Lawyer Women”s Association of which she is an active member. Aline holds a Master degree in Human Rights and Pacific Resolution of Conflicts. She has conducted research and trainings on women and children’s rights.
Jeannette Ninihazwe – Accounting and Finance Administration
Jeannette Nininihazwe brings significant experience to Burundi Bridges to Justice thanks to her past three years of work with gender based civil society organizations where she contributed to introduce gender based strategies within one non-profit organizations platform. She also participated in a number of field studies aimed at building a database for several projects. Jeannette joined BBJ in September 2017 as a volunteer and her work included ensuring that the gender component is taken into account in BBJ interventions, that from trainings delivered to criminal justice stakeholders to the legal assistance provided freely to the accused. From March 2018, she serves as Accounting and Finance Administrator. Jeannette holds a Bachelor from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Burundi.
Astère Muyango – Senior Advisor
Astère brings more than 5 years of experience in legal clinical aid and project management to IBJ. His most formative experience was as Assistant Coordinator of the Clinical Legal Aid Project of the International South-African based non-governmental organization ACCORD (African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes), where he delivered capacity-building to grassroots organizations, provided legal counsel to indigents and managed partnerships with other relevant legal aid providers in the country. Astère now provides the on-the-ground leadership to IBJ’s Burundi program. He contributes to refine the program’s strategic goals, coordinates the main activities of the program and cements strong working relationships with the local partners. He holds a Bachelor of Law from the Law University of Burundi.