Situation in the Republic of Burundi


ICC Prosecutor authorised to open proprio motu investigation: 25 October 2017  

Current focus: Alleged crimes against humanity committed in Burundi or by nationals of Burundi outside Burundi since 26 April 2015 until 26 October 2017 

Current regional focus: Both in and outside of Burundi  

ICC at a glance: Kirundi

Understanding the ICC: Kirundi


Jurisdiction in the general situation  

Burundi deposited its instrument of ratification to the Rome Statute on 21 September 2004. Burundi withdrew from the Rome Statute, and the withdrawal took effect on 27 October 2017. The ICC may therefore exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed on the territory of Burundi or by its nationals from 1 December 2004 to 26 October 2017. 

Context and alleged crimes  

In its decision authorising an investigation, the Chamber found a reasonable basis to believe that State agents and groups implementing State policies, together with members of the "Imbonerakure" launched a widespread and systematic attack against the Burundian civilian population. 

The attack targeted those who opposed or were perceived to oppose the ruling party after the announcement, in April 2015, that President Pierre Nkurunziza was going to run for a third term in office. 

The following crimes against humanity were allegedly committed both in and outside of Burundi by Burundian nationals, between 26 April 2015 and 26 October 2017: 

  • murder and attempted murder 
  • imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty 
  • torture 
  • rape 
  • enforced disappearance 
  • persecution 

If evidence suggests other continuous or related crimes in the Court's jurisdiction occurred, the ICC Prosecutor's investigation can expand to include those crimes.   

Background/Preliminary examination  

The preliminary examination of the situation in Burundi was announced on 25 April 2016. At the time more than 430 persons had reportedly been killed, at least 3,400 people arrested and over 230,000 Burundians forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. The preliminary examination focusses on acts of killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances that have been allegedly committed since April 2015 in Burundi.