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Burundi ICC: Nation Votes to Withdraw From International Criminal Court

Image: Burundi ICC: Nation Votes to Withdraw From International Criminal Court

In this Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, file photo, members of Burundi's Parliament prepare for the swearing-in ceremony of President Pierre Nkurunziza, in the parliament building in Bujumbura, Burundi. (AP Photo/Gildas Ngingo, File)

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Oct 2016 03:02 PM

Lawmakers in Burundi voted by large margins Wednesday to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would make the small African nation the first to do so.

Both the lower house and the Senate voted overwhelmingly for a law that would include withdrawal from the ICC, and the law is expected to be signed by President Pierre Nkurunziza later this week, according to Agence France-Presse as reported by the Daily Mail.

The move comes amid 18 months of violence in Burundi after Nkurunziza ran for and won a third term in office, which some considered unconstitutional. The resulting unrest led to a government crackdown the U.N. and other organizations estimate has left as many as 1,000 dead. Torture, rape, and imprisonment also have been reported along with "enforced disappearances."

When the ICC indicated it was concerned about genocide and would investigate the violence, lawmakers became uneasy about the activities of the court. “The ICC is a tool being used to try and change power,” Aloys Ntakirutimana said in a debate leading up to the vote, AFP reported.

There is growing concern among several African nations that the ICC is unfairly targeting them or concentrating disproportionately on human rights violations there, according to The Associated Press. Kenya has been the target of several failed investigations and is now pushing for all African nations to leave the ICC. A country that wants to withdraw from the court needs to inform the U.N. in writing under a treaty called the Rome Statute.

“Seeking immunity for the worst crimes in international law is the worst failure of political leadership,” said William Pace of the Coalition for the ICC in a statement.

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Lawmakers in Burundi voted by large margins Wednesday to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would make the small African nation the first to do so.
burundi, ICC, withdraw
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2016-02-12
Wednesday, 12 Oct 2016 03:02 PM
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