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Africa

Burundi court rules in favour of president's third term as judge flees in fear of his life

media Protesters in Bujumbura's Musaga neighbourhood, 5 May 2015 RFI/Sonia Rolley

Burundi's constitutional court on Tuesday ruled that President Pierre Nkurunziza could run for a controversial third term in office. The judgement, signed by six out of seven judges, follows days of deadly protests in the capital Bujumbura and after the constitutional court’s vice-president fled the country on Monday.

Judge Sylvere Nimpagaritse, vice-president, constitutional court

"The evening of the 30th [April], we began being subjected to enormous pressure and even death threats. But we had the courage to return the next day. On the 1st [May] we continued to deliberate. Those opposed to a third term - violating the constitution and the Arusha Agreement - were afraid, because they were put under pressure, they told me. And they confided in me that if they changed their minds, they would humiliate the president and risk everything. We risk our lives. So they had to get behind the 3rd term and join the camp supporting it. In my heart and soul, I decided not to put my signature on a ruling, a ruling that was against the law. Therefore I went into hiding tonight [Monday]."

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