Burundi President approves bill to leave ICC


Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has signed bill passed by the country’s parliament to leave the International Criminal Court making it the first country to withdraw from the court.

The bill to withdraw was voted by an overwhelming number of members of parliament with only two objections after the 94 voted to leave and 14 abstained.

ICC started investigations into the East African country in April following political violence that has left at least 450 people dead and hundreds fleeing to neighbouring countries. Other than the deaths, the ICC is looking into allegations of rape, imprisonment, torture, forced disappearances and other sexual violence.

African governments have complained that the highest numbers of investigations and cases at the ICC have been Africans.

Nine out of 10 situations under investigation by ICC prosecutors are African. All five verdicts have dealt with African suspects from Congo, Central African Republic and Mali according to Reuters

Observers say a withdrawal from the ICC takes effect a year after the day the UN secretary general is formally notified of a country’s intention according to AP.