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UN accuses Burundi of crimes against humanity
September 05, 2017
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Geneva: UN investigators on Monday accused Burundi’s government of crimes against humanity, including executions and torture, and urged the International Criminal Court to open a case “as soon as possible”.

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi said it had “reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed and continue to be committed in Burundi,” pointing a finger at “the highest level of the state”.

The three investigators, appointed by the Human Rights Council last September, described a “climate of fear” fuelled by violations including executions, torture and sexual violence.

Commission chair Fatsah Ouguergouz told reporters in Geneva that the abuses were part of a “general or systematic attack against the civilian population” that could be considered “state policy.”

“We are struck by the scale and the brutality of the violations,” Ouguergouz said in a statement.

Given Burundi’s record of impunity and the “strong likelihood that the perpetrators of these crimes will remain unpunished,” the investigators asked “the International Criminal Court to open an investigation... as soon as possible”.

If it wants to follow that advice, the ICC will indeed need to move quickly: last year, Burundi formally announced it was withdrawing from the court, with the move set to take effect on October 27.

After that date, the ICC can only open a case if asked to do so by the Security Council.

Burundi plunged into a political crisis in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term that his opponents said was unconstitutional.

He won elections in July that year which were boycotted by the opposition.

Agence France-Presse

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