Bu­rundi slams ICC, says it will not co-op­er­ate

Jus­tice Min­is­ter says Bu­jum­bura has no obli­ga­tion to the court

The East African - - NEWS - By HAVYARIMANA MOSES Spe­cial Correspondent Pic: AFP

Bu­rundi has slammed the de­ci­sion by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court to open in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­leged hu­man-rights crimes com­mit­ted in the coun­try since 2015.

The move comes after the ICC judges au­tho­rised the Pros­e­cu­tor to open a probe into the al­leged crimes in­clud­ing mur­der and at­tempted mur­der, rape, tor­ture and forced dis­ap­pear­ances.

The Court in­di­cated that the Pre-trial cham­ber III, con­sid­ered that the sup­port­ing ma­te­ri­als pre­sented by the ICC pros­e­cu­tor of­fered a rea­son­able ba­sis to pro­ceed with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The Pre-trial cham­ber found that the court has juris­dic­tion over crimes al­legedly com­mit­ted while Bu­rundi was a state party to the ICC Rome Statute... up to and in­clud­ing Oc­to­ber 26, 2017,” a state­ment from the Court reads.

Bu­rundi be­came a state party of the Rome Statute — the treaty that estab­lished the ICC — on De­cem­ber 1, 2004. It of­fi­cially quit the Court on Oc­to­ber 27, this year, one year after it sub­mit­ted a no­tice to with­draw, be­com­ing the first African coun­try to pull out. The de­ci­sion to with­draw came after the Court an­nounced that it had launched pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions into crimes com­mit­ted in the coun­try since 2015.

But Jus­tice Min­is­ter Lau­ren­tine Kanyana slammed the de­ci­sion of the court to probe crimes against hu­man­ity say­ing Bu­rundi has no obli­ga­tion to it and that the coun­try’s ju­di­ciary is com­pe­tent and ca­pa­ble of pun­ish­ing per­pe­tra­tors of crime.

“Any ac­tion that will be taken by ICC will not be pro­duc­tive be­cause Bu­rundi has no obli­ga­tion to the ICC,” said Ms Kanyana.

The Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion said there is no cred­i­ble le­gal ba­sis upon which the ICC could base their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We have ad­vised against the open­ing of in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the ICC and rec­om­mend the Bu­run­dian ju­di­cial sys­tem in­ves­ti­gate the crimes in­stead,” said the Com­mis­sion’s chair­man Jean Bap­tist Bari­bonekeza.

Ac­cord­ing to the ICC, more than 1,000 peo­ple have been killed in Bu­rundi since 2015, when Pres­i­dent Pierre Nku­run­z­iza’s push for a third term in of­fice sparked protests by op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers who said the move was un­con­sti­tu­tional. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, po­lice, of­fi­cials from the na­tional in­tel­li­gence and the Im­bon­er­akure, the youth wing of the rul­ing party have been linked to the crimes al­legedly com­mit­ted in the coun­try.

Last Septem­ber the United Na­tions Hu­man Rights Coun­cil passed a resolution ini­ti­ated by African coun­tries that praised Bu­rundi for wish­ing to en­gage in di­a­logue. The resolution re­quested the UN High Com­mis­sioner to ur­gently dispatch a team of ex­perts to Bu­rundi.

“The team will make rec­om­men­da­tions for the tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and ca­pac­ity build­ing and pro­vide ways to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion of hu­man-rights in the coun­try,” the resolution reads.

It fur­ther notes that the three ex­perts will also col­lect and pre­serve in­for­ma­tion to de­ter­mine the facts and cir­cum­stances in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and prac­tices, in co-op­er­a­tion with the Bu­rundi gov­ern­ment, and for­ward the in­for­ma­tion to the ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties of Bu­rundi in or­der to es­tab­lish the truth and to en­sure per­pe­tra­tors are ac­count­able to the ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties of Bu­rundi.

How­ever, the Euro­pean Union-led resolution was later adopted by the Coun­cil which ex­tended the com­mis­sion of in­quiry’s man­date for one year.

The UN Com­mis­sion of In­quiry on Bu­rundi then asked the ICC to probe the al­leged hu­man-rights abuses in the coun­try.

Riot po­lice of­fi­cers in Bu­jum­bura on April 27, 2015 fol­low­ing protests by op­posi­ton fol­low­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.