The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has urgently requested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) open an investigation into crimes against humanity being committed in the country. On 4th September 2017, it was confirmed at a meeting in Geneva that the Commission has now collected enough testimony to feasibly believe that human rights violations have been ongoing in Burundi since April 2015. This is according to the Commission’s report published on 4th September.
The Burundian authorities have denied the Commission’s attempts to initiate dialogue, refused to provide them with information from the government and have even forbidden members of the Commission from travelling to the country. In response, Reine Alapini Gansou, a member of the Commission said “We deeply regret the Burundian government’s lack of cooperation, which, among other things, made it difficult for us to document human rights abuses committed by armed opposition groups. This is all the more regrettable given that Burundi, as a member of the Human Rights Council, has an obligation to cooperate with mechanisms set up by the Council.”
As impunity is protecting those responsible for the human rights abuses, the Commission has asked the ICC to begin an investigation as soon as possible. Moreover, the Commission is calling on the African Union to restart the initiative to find a permanent solution to the crisis in Burundi that is built around respecting human rights.
Lambert Nigarura, Chairman of the Burundi National Coalition for the ICC has responded positively, stating that “The UN report showed its techniques to reveal the truth. Then, it is high time the ICC opened investigations into crimes committed in Burundi.” In 2016, Burundi notified the United Nations of its intention to leave the international Court, which is set to take effect from 27th October 2017.
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www.coalitionfortheicc.org (6th September 2017)
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