Con­cern at ICC over Bu­rundi’s vote to with­draw

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

Bu­rundi’s par­lia­men­tary vote last week to leave the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court poses “a set­back in the fight against im­punity,” the court’s gov­ern­ing body said yes­ter­day. Bu­rundi’s par­lia­ment voted over­whelm­ingly on Oc­to­ber 12 to with­draw from Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty es­tab­lish­ing the global court, which would make it the first coun­try to quit.

The head of the ICC’s gov­ern­ing body, Sidiki Kaba, said he was con­cerned that would un­der­mine “ef­forts to­wards the ob­jec­tive of uni­ver­sal­ity” and urged Bu­rundi to “en­gage in a di­a­logue”. The ICC, which opened in July 2002 and has 124 mem­ber states, is the first le­gal body with per­ma­nent in­ter­na­tional ju­ris­dic­tion to pros­e­cute geno­cide, crimes against hu­man­ity and war crimes.

But sev­eral African coun­tries have ex­pressed con­cern that its fo­cus has been on Africa rather than any­where else in the world. The ICC opened a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion in April into Bu­rundi, look­ing into killings, im­pris­on­ment, tor­ture, rape and other forms of sex­ual vi­o­lence, as well as en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances.

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