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The ICC decides to investigate Burundi crimes

11 November 2017

"Burundi will never offer its cooperation with the ICC, " Justice Minister Laurentine Kanyana said, adding that Burundi was not bound to comply because they had pulled out of the court before learning of the investigation.

Today, 9 November 2017, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court"), composed of Judges Chang-ho Chung (Presiding Judge), Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua and Raul C. Pangalangan, issued a public redacted version of its decision authorising the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed in Burundi or by nationals of Burundi outside Burundi since 26 April 2015 until 26 October 2017.

The crimes allegedly were committed by Burundi's national police force, intelligence service, units of the country's army and members of the youth wing of the ruling party known as the Imbonerakure.

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Burundi is the first country to withdraw from the ICC, with the government accusing the organisation of bias and saying it only went after African leaders.

"The government rejects that decision and reiterates its firm determination that it will not cooperate with ICC or any other fraudulent manipulation intending to. extend mandate of the ICC on the Burundi territory".

Burundi descended into violence that left hundreds of people dead in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for a third term that he ultimately won.

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The opposition said the move was unconstitutional and violated a peace deal that ended a civil war in 2005.

Human rights activists say more than 2,000 people have been killed since April 2015, more than 8,000 imprisoned and thousands more forced into exile fearing for their security.

The ICC said on Friday said the crimes alleged to have occurred between April 2015 and October 2017 include murder, imprisonment, torture, rape, enforced disappearances and persecution. Accordingly, there is no conflict of jurisdiction between the Court and Burundi. He said that even though it would have been notified, the decision remains ICC's own business and not Burundi's.

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"It is a victory for justice in Burundi, it is a victory for those who want the return of peace and rule of law to Burundi". The investigation also will look into alleged acts of violence by "armed anti-government entities", she said.

The ICC decides to investigate Burundi crimes