Human Right

Burundi will never cooperate with ICC, says Justice Minister

Minister of Justice Aimée Laurentine says Burundi will never, in any case, cooperate with the ICC in the implementation of the decision to open investigation into the crimes committed in Burundi. “The decision has been taken in violation of the Rome Statute and its principles of international law”, she says.

Aimée Laurentine Kanyana: “The ICC decision is only a political declaration intended to encourage some external forces”

Aimée Laurentine Kanyana: “The ICC decision is only a political declaration intended to encourage some external forces”

Minister Kanyana says Burundi has an institutional and legal framework to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of all crimes committed on its territory without discrimination. “For all these reasons, Burundi rejects categorically the decision of the court”, she says.

She says the government was not notified of the ICC’s decision to investigate the situation in Burundi before its effective withdrawal from the Rome Statute on 27 October. She accuses the ICC of the politicization of human rights and international criminal justice and the temptation of destabilizing the African countries. “ This decision is the result of the coordinated maneuvering by the European Union and its network of radical opposition activists, coup plotters and some non-governmental organizations and nations hostile to Burundi”, she says.

She also says the decision is only a political declaration intended to encourage these external forces and the criminal elements that they support and sponsor to overthrow the republican institutions of Burundi.

Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor says her request to the Pre-Trial Chamber seeking authorization to open an investigation was made under seal on 5 September 2017 to protect the integrity of the investigation and the life or well-being of victims and potential witnesses to the situation. “The Chamber agreed with my assessment that this exceptional measure, which was fully consistent with the Court’s legal framework, to be necessary given the circumstances of this situation”, she says.

The ICC Prosecutor says the Burundian authorities have initiated a limited number of domestic inquiries with respect to violent acts. She, however, says they have not, and are not, conducting relevant criminal proceedings with regard to the crimes identified. “In view of such inactivity, my Office can exercise its jurisdiction to seek justice for the victims of atrocity crimes connected with violence in Burundi. That is our mandated duty”, she says.

On 25 October 2017, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) authorized the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes allegedly committed in Burundi or by nationals of Burundi outside the country.