Jean-Marie currently resides with his family in Canberra, having applied for a protection visa in 2017. Growing up in Burundi from a mixed marriage of Tutsi and Hutu parents, Jean-Marie was no stranger to persecution. Against the backdrop of civil war, Jean-Marie felt compelled to pursue justice through both practising law and advocating for human rights. Against the odds, he rose to become the Head of the Criminal Section of the Supreme Court, the highest in the country of Burundi. Corruption and government interference in judicial matters was commonplace. Jean-Marie felt this firsthand one Friday afternoon when the President called him during the trial of a political opponent. What happens next is worth tuning in to find out.
Justice at Any Price
One man's stand in the face of tyranny
Jean-Marie is from Burundi. At a relatively young age he was appointed judge in a provincial court, whereupon he advanced quickly in the judiciary to eventually become Head of the Criminal Section of the Supreme Court in Burundi, the highest court in the land.
Throughout his legal career in Burundi, he had a particular interest in Human Rights issues, founding a local NGO working, completing training with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research in human rights, and advocating for and assisting victims of war, refugees, minorities, and victims of crimes. He is fluent in five languages Including English, French and Swahili.
Having arrived in Australia to undertake further studies in 2015, political developments in Burundi and his history as a human rights activist have impacted his family and career and he has been unable to return to Burundi.
Jean-Marie currently works for the ACT Government - Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) as Compliance Officer at Access Canberra. He previously worked for the ACT Direction of Public Prosecutions as Paralegal, and with the ACT Law Society as Committee Administrator. He completed his master’s degree of Business Management: Legal Studies at the University of Canberra in 2017 and is currently enrolled in Diploma of Legal Practice at the University of Sydney to complete the academic requirements for him to be admitted to legal practice in Australia.