La régulation de la conjugalité en union libre au Burundi: une approche singulière, légalement critiquable et aux effets potentiellement pervers
It is generally admitted that in the second half of the twentieth century, it has been seen a rise of non-marital cohabitations and, conversely, an important decrease of marriages in many Western Countries. This situation has consequently led legislators to grant legal recognition to non-marital cohabitation along with marriage. Confronted with the same issue, Burundian authorities have responded quite differently. Until 2016, they have shown a kind of legal indifference and tolerance towards non-marital families. It is in September 2016 that they enacted a law prohibiting and criminalizing nonmarital cohabitation. Moreover, the authorities enjoined all couples in non-marital cohabitation to change it into marriage; otherwise they should be fined and even imprisoned. This article is aimed to critically discuss this approach adopted by Burundian authorities in the regulation of non-marital cohabitation. And it has been found that this approach does not comply with the Constitution of Burundi and the Human Rigths framework to which Burundi has suscribed. Furthermore, not only the efficenciecy of this approach is questionable since it seems it does not take into account the real causes of the rise of non-marital cohabitation, such as poverty, ignorance of the law, prohibition of polygamous marriage, but also the approach is likely to produce adverse effects to families, women and children. This should especially be the case to polygamous marital relationships because the approach implies separation of couples in such relationships in order to comply with the monogamous marriage, the only one which is legally recognized so far. It is for those reasons that, in the end, the article suggests a new approach that the Burundian legislator should adopt in dealing with non-marital cohabitation, an approach which reconciles efficiency and respect for fundamental rights and liberties. This approach should be a legal recognition of non-marital cohabitation that implies at least an extension of patrimonial effects of marriage to non-marital cohabitation, no matter its form, monogamous or polygamous.
Source (journal)
KAS African law study library/Librairie africaine d'études juridiques
5 (2018) , p. 258-279
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Creation 22.11.2018
Last edited 15.07.2021
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