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Burundi, first country to leave the International Criminal Court

The African state formalized its departure by considering the partial court and focused on the crimes perpetrated by African-only

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Burundi, first country to leave the International Criminal Court

Burundi, Republic of East Africa, which was a colony of Germany and Belgium in twentieth century, has just left International Criminal Court (ICC). It is first Member State to turn its back on only permanent body that pursues genocide and war crimes and against humanity, and it does so by considering it to be biased and focused on crimes perpetrated by Africans.

The decision is a severe blow to international justice, but it does not affect court's jurisdiction over a previous investigation into Burundi. Dated 2015, it includes death of 430 people in protests recorded after announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former guerrilla of Hutu ethnic group (majority in country) opted for a third term. The prosecution will shortly submit its findings. The United States, Israel, China, Russia, and India are not part of ICC.

The Burundi march was officially notified a year ago to United Nations. Shortly reafter, due to same alleged lack of fairness of ICC, South Africa and Gambia did same. "They both changed ir minds and are still members of court without receiving furr notifications in opposite direction," says Fadi Abdallah, his spokesman. He also emphasizes that chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, continues his work in Burundi. A file in which re is also arrest of 3,400 people and flight of some 230,000 more in search of shelter in neighboring countries. Murders, torture, sexual violence and enforced disappearances complete documentation.

Criticism of ICC's apparent African obsession is not new. Last February, African Union (AU), which brings toger 55 countries of continent (34 members of court), called for mass withdrawal of Tribunal for "undermining its sovereignty by setting itself in a special way in its inhabitants." The resolution adopted n was not binding, and Nigeria and Senegal opposed it. The court has always denied any partisanship, and prosecutor Bensouda, born in Gambia, where she was Minister of Justice, often remembers that she is as African as y are. The UA's opinion was very hard, and his announcement showed general frustration. But it also called on its members to contribute to reform of ICC, a victory for humanitarian organizations, which underline lack of credibility of judicial system in many of annoying African capitals with judges and prosecutors International.

This same normative fragility led most African countries to overturn at first with Criminal Court (open in 2002) to end impunity of warlords. Especially after Rwandan Genocide (1994), where he perished up to 70% of Tutsi population at hands of his Hutu community neighbors, who led government. Serious disputes n arrived, as with South Africa, which in 2015 did not stop Sudan's president Omar El Bashir when he was participating in an African Union summit. The Sudanese President weighs an order of arrest of court for Genocide, and by letting him go, South Africa also suffered brunt of his domestic laws. The supreme concluded that international and national legislation had been violated, with ensuing damage to country's reputation.

As for Gambia, his information minister, Sheriff Bojang, said in 2016 that court was "white and thought to humiliate people of color, and does not persecute former British prime Minister Tony Blair for Iraq war."

Kenya and Namibia have also adopted resolutions to leave, but "at moment nothing has happened and we have no news about it," according to spokesman El Abdallah.


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