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Burundi refuses to co-operate with ICC probe

Publish date: 13 November 2017
Issue Number: 751
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Criminal

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has praised the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe crimes against humanity in Burundi, despite the fact that it has become the first country to withdraw from the court. The court still has jurisdiction over crimes committed during the 13 years that it was a member. The rights group said the decision gives victims hope that those responsible for grave crimes over the past two years could be held to account. The panel of three ICC judges will investigate how President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision two years ago to run for an unconstitutional third term, ignited protests in Burundi that were suppressed by his security service and the youth league of his ruling party. It will look at the allegedly unchecked abuses by these groups including rape, torture and executions. However, Legalbrief report that Bujumbura on Friday said it rejected any efforts to co-operate with the court. Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana said his government was not notified of the ICC's decision to investigate Burundi before its effective departure and, as a result, ‘is not bound by this decision’. South Africa's withdrawal from the court was revoked in March while The Gambia's new government reversed its withdrawal in February.

HRW statement