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ICC to open preliminary probe into Burundi clashes

ICC to open preliminary probe into Burundi clashes

Burundi

International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on Monday said she was opening a preliminary probe into the violence that has wrecked Burundi.

The attacks have led to the deaths of at least 430 people since a political crisis erupted following last April’s election, Reuters reports.

At least 3,400 people have been arrested and over 230,000 Burundians were forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

“At least 3,400 people have been arrested and over 230,000 Burundians were forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries,” she said.

Financial Times reports rights groups have welcomed the decision announced by the ICC chief prosecutor, but some analysts said the crisis in the East African country was escalating so rapidly.

At least three armed rebel groups have emerged in the East African country since a political crisis erupted a year ago when president Pierre Nkurunziza launched his bid for a third term in office and then won the disputed election in July.

Six months after the election, there were almost daily killings, widespread arrests and at least three armed opposition groups were formed.

At the begining of this year, violence appeared to become more covert, with increased reports of enforced disappearances and torture among civilians.

Bensouda said her office has “reviewed reports detailing acts of killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances.”

She said her initial probe, which would have no time limit, would determine whether to launch a formal investigation that might lead to prosecutions.

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