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Burundi MPs vote by landslide to leave International Criminal Court

Burundi MPs vote by landslide to leave International Criminal Court


The Burundian parliament has in a landslide vote accented to the decision by the government to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC).

At the close of the vote, 94 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted in favor of the withdrawal. Two others voted against while 14 others abstained. The two MPs who voted against the withdrawal were Andre Ndayizamba and Fabien Baciryanino

The government last week presented a draft law to the parliament to withdraw its membership at the ICC because “We found that it was necessary to withdraw from that organization so we can really be free,” First Vice President Gaston Sindimwo said.

The ICC had announced that it will investigate the April 2015 violence that resulted in the death of at least 450 people with thousands fleeing the country.

The United Nations (UN) released a report in September accusing the Burundian government of carrying out human rights abuses. Consequently, the government threw out three UN rights investigators and severed cooperation with the UN rights body.

The government also accused the UN of bias and called the investigations politically motivated. Hundreds of protesters later marched along the streets of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura denouncing the UN report.

European nations and the United States have led efforts to put pressure on the country with aid cuts. The EU advised that it will resume funding if the government frees up the media, deals with rights abuses and launches genuine peace talks.

Violence in the country erupted after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced a decision to seek a third term in office. He eventually won elections criticised by the opposition who describe his current tenure as unconstitutional.