Bujumbura – Burundi’s Government said on Friday that it would not cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), a day after the UN organisation launched an investigation into war crimes in the East African nation.
“Burundi will never offer its cooperation with the ICC,’’ Justice Minister Laurentine Kanyana said, adding that Burundi was not bound to comply because they had pulled out of the court before learning of the investigation.
The ICC has said the decision to investigate was taken prior to Burundi’s exit from the body in October.
“Burundi has denounced in the past and still vehemently denounces the manipulation of international criminal justice by neocolonial forces seeking regime change in Burundi,’’ the Minister said.
Earlier, the ICC in the Hague announced there was “a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation in relation to crimes against humanity,’’ including murder, rape and torture in Burundi between 2015 and 2017.
Burundi is the first country to withdraw from the ICC, with the government accusing the organisation of bias and saying it only went after African leaders.
Other African nations have made similar complaints, with both Gambia and South Africa having threatened to leave.
Burundi was plunged into a political crisis in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in office.
According to Human Rights Watch, the security forces have since been “responsible for numerous killings, disappearances, abductions, torture, rape and arbitrary arrests.’’ (dpa/NAN)