Burundi's Lower House Votes to Leave ICC
By VOA News October 12, 2016
Burundi's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly passed legislation to withdraw from the International Criminal Court Wednesday, following a U.N. probe into human rights abuses in the East African country.
The country slid into political crisis after Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term as president, which many called unconstitutional. Since announcing his candidacy in April 2015, violent street protests, forced disappearances, and assassinations have left hundreds dead and over 200,000 have fled the country.
The U.N. began a high-level investigation into human rights abuses in Burundi two weeks ago. On Monday, Burundi barred three U.N. investigators from entering the country following the release of a report warning of possible "crimes against humanity" and a risk of genocide.
The motion to leave the ICC now moves to the Senate, also dominated by the ruling party, and then the president before becoming official. But even then, the government must write a letter to the U.N. Secretary General explaining its intention to leave, and the withdrawal will only take effect a year after the letter is received.
No country has left the Hague-based International Criminal Court, though African nations have shown growing resentment toward it, claiming that it disproportionately targets African governments. Of six cases that are ongoing or about to begin at the ICC, only Africans have been charged.
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