The ICC decides to open a preliminary investigation into the situation in Burundi

On 25 April 2016, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda announced the opening of a preliminary investigation into the situation prevailing in Burundi since April 2015. Fatou Bensouda stated that her office had “reviewed reports detailing acts of killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances” and added that “All these acts appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC”.

Upon their return from a fact-finding mission to Burundi in March 2016, FIDH and its Burundi member organisation ITEKA reported on 14 April that, “the nature of the crimes witnessed by the FIDH delegation could very well fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court” and called upon the Chief Prosecutor to “immediately open a preliminary examination of the situation in Burundi, which is state party to the ICC”.

Our organisations appreciate this decision and hope that, considering the seriousness of the crimes committed and the absence of a national judiciary, the ICC will, without delay, open an investigation into the very grave crimes committed in Burundi. Our organisations will continue to document these crimes and fight against the impunity of their perpetrators.

On 8 May 2015, Fatou Bensouda already indicated that her office was keeping close track of the situation in Burundi and that persons who committed these crimes, which fell within the jurisdiction of the ICC, could be prosecuted by the Court.

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