April 2015, I have closely followed the situation in Burundi and
repeatedly called upon all involved to refrain from violence, warning
that those alleged to be committing crimes falling within the
jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "the Court")
could be held individually accountable.
the course of the on-going crisis, more than 430 persons were
reportedly killed, at least 3,400 people have been arrested and over
230,000 Burundians forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. My
Office has reviewed a number of communications and reports detailing
acts of killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual
violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances. All these acts
appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC. I have decided
therefore to open a preliminary examination into the situation in
Burundi since April 2015.
preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of
examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed
determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an
investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute.
Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor
must consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of
justice in making this determination. The Office gives due
consideration to all submissions and views conveyed to the Office during
the course of a preliminary examination, strictly guided by the
requirements of the Rome Statute and in the independent and impartial
exercise of its mandate.
no timelines provided in the Rome Statute for a decision on a
preliminary examination. Depending on the facts and circumstances of
each situation, the Office will decide whether to continue to collect
information to establish a sufficient factual and legal basis to render a
determination; initiate an investigation, subject to judicial review as
appropriate; or decline to initiate an investigation if there is no
reasonable basis to proceed.
conformity with the complementarity principle, my Office will also be
engaging with the Burundian authorities with a view to discussing and
assessing relevant investigations and prosecutions at the national
Burundi is a State Party to the
Rome Statute, and as such, the ICC has jurisdiction over genocide,
crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory or by
nationals of Burundi since 1 December 2004, the date when the Statute
entered into force in Burundi.
Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial
preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes
of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been
conducting investigations in: Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the
Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate
investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The
Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the
situations in Afghanistan; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine, Nigeria