Why East African Heads Opposed to ICC Probe of Burundi
Human rights abuses in Burundi has claimed more than 1, 200 lives since 2015, a development that has irked the international community and consequent move by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged abuses.
But the Uganda President Yoweri Museveni who heads East African Committee (EAC) charged with the role of settling the Burundian crisis, has opposed the ICC involvement in settling the crisis.
A statement from the office of Tanzanian President John Magufuli said ICC’s decision “compromised efforts of EAC committee charged with seeking a resolution to the Burundi conflict.”
The committee is led by Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.
Museveni on Saturday accused the ICC of “interfering in the efforts of the EAC.” He currently heads the EAC, a regional bloc made up of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
On Friday, powers in Bujumbura said it would not cooperate with the proposed ICC investigation. The east African nation recently withdrew from the ICC charter, but the court argues the pull-out does not affect its jurisdiction over crimes committed earlier.
Speaking to reporters in Bujumbura, Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine said the ICC has no right to conduct an investigation in her country.
“Burundi not being a state party to the ICC statute, is not concerned with those so-called decisions of that court,” said Laurentine. “The government rejects that decision and reiterates its firm determination that it will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court or any other fraudulent manipulation intending to facilitate extended mandate of the ICC in the territory of Burundi.”
According to human rights organizations, between April 2015 and May 2017 at least 1,200 people were killed, 900 disappeared forcefully and more than 10,000 people were illegally detained amid Burundi’s political unrest.