Burundi’s U.N. Ambassador says Nation will Leave ICC a Year Later

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Burundi’s Justice Minister Aimée Laurentine Kanyana notified the United Nations on Thursday of the country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, which will take effect one year from Oct. 27, Burundi’s U.N. Ambassador Albert Shingiro said.

Shingiro posted a photo on Twitter of Kanyana handing the withdrawal document to Edmond Mulet, chief of staff for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Burundi becomes the second country to quit The Hague-based court after South Africa submitted its withdrawal, to take effect one year from Oct. 19.

In an unprecedented move in the continent, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza signed a decree to quit the International Criminal Court, after parliament voted overwhelmingly to remove the country from the court’s jurisdiction.

On Oct. 12, only two lawmakers voted in favour of staying under the jurisdiction of the Dutch-based ICC, while 94 voted against and 14 abstained.

In April, the ICC opened a preliminary investigation into Burundi, focusing on killings, imprisonment, torture, rape and other sexual violence, as well as enforced disappearances.

Burundi’s government was infuriated last month by a U.N. report that named officials accused of orchestrating the torture and killing political opponents.

Since then, Bujumbura has banned three U.N. investigators from its territory and condemned a U.N. decision to set up a commission of inquiry to probe the violence, which began last year after Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term in office.

Opponents said his candidacy violated the constitution and a peace agreement that ended a civil war in 2005. The opposition mostly boycotted the polls and Nkurunziza won a third term.

Credit: Reuters