Burundi to leave International Criminal Court, official says – Austin American

//Burundi to leave International Criminal Court, official says – Austin American

Burundi to leave International Criminal Court, official says – Austin American

By | 2016-10-07T12:59:23+00:00 October 7th, 2016|Middle East|0 Comments

Burundi will withdraw from the International Criminal Court, months after the court said it will investigate violence sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s re-election, an official said.

The government has presented a draft law in parliament to debate how Burundi can withdraw, First Vice President Gaston Sindimwo said Thursday.

Sindimwo accused the court of violating the rights of Africans.

Some African countries have threatened a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, accusing the court of disproportionately targeting the continent. Only Africans have been charged in the six cases that are ongoing or about to begin.

Of the 122 countries that are parties to the Rome Statute, 34 are African, the largest continental bloc.

“This is posturing. All a member state country needs to do to leave is write to the U.N. secretary-general saying they wish to withdraw from the ICC, and a year after the day the secretary-general receives the letter the country will no longer be a member,” said Tom Maliti with the New York-based International Justice Monitor, which tracks ICC cases.

Hundreds have died in Burundi since Nkurunziza last year pursued and won a third term that many call unconstitutional. Since the ruling party announced his candidacy in April 2015, Burundi has seen violent street protests, forced disappearances and assassinations. More than 260,000 have fled.

The ICC in April said it will investigate the violence.

The push among some African countries to withdraw from ICC began after the court indicted Kenyanb President Uhuru Kenyatta on charges of crimes against humanity for 2007 post-election violence in which more than 1,000 died. The ICC prosecutor said threats to witnesses, bribery and lack of cooperation by Kenya’s government led to the case’s collapse.

Some countries want a separate African court with jurisdiction over rights abuses.