In Summary
  • Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana said Burundi would not cooperate with the Netherlands-based court.
  • ICC approved a prosecution request to investigate war crimes allegedly committed by Burundi’s government and allied groups against political foes.
  • UN rights investigators and independent activists have accused government forces of widespread violations and of running a campaign of terror.

NAIROBI

Burundi on Friday slapped away any idea that it would help the International Criminal Court's probe into alleged crimes committed after the country spiralled into political turmoil in 2015.

"Burundi rejects this decision from the very outset," said Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana, a day after The Hague-based court announced the investigation..

Burundi withdrew from the ICC on October 27 — claiming it was biased against Africa  — "and was not notified of the ICC's decision to investigate Burundi before its effective departure," she said.

CRIMES

As a result, "it is not bound by this decision," the minister said in a statement read to the press in Bujumbura, the capital.

On Thursday, the ICC revealed that its judges had given the go-ahead for a full investigation into crimes allegedly committed in Burundi from April 26, 2015, to October 26, 2017, which is the day before the country's exit from the court.

The prosecutor can also widen the probe to acts committed both before and after those dates "if certain legal requirements are met", and even investigate other atrocities such as suspected "genocide or war crimes," under the decision.

The period this covers begins with Burundi's descent into unrest and bloodletting when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was running for a third term in office, winning July 2015 elections which were boycotted by the opposition.

According to estimates, "at least 1,200 people were allegedly killed, thousands illegally detained, thousands reportedly tortured and hundreds disappeared", the ICC judges said.

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