Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on opening a Preliminary Examination into the situation in Burundi
Since 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.
In 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.
A 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.
There are 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.
In 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 level.
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.
The 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 and Ukraine.
Kuva muri Ndamukiza 2015, nakwirikiraniye hafi ibiriko birabera mu Burundi kandi kenshi nateye akamo abo biraba bose ngo bareke kwishora mu bikorwa vy'ububisha. Abagirizwa ivyaha Sentare Mpanavyaha Mpuzamakungu ("CPI" canke "Sentare") yemerewe gukwirikirana narabakebuye, ndababarira ko bashobora kuzobibazwa ku giti cabo.
Mu magume akibandanya, abantu barenga 430 boba barishwe, abatari munsi y'3.400 barafashwe, naho Abarundi barenga 230.000 baromotse bahungira mu bihugu vy'ababanyi. Ibiro nserukira vyihweje ku makuru n'ivyegeranyo twaronse ku bijanye n'ubwicanyi, ipfungwa, itotezwa, ifatwa ku nguvu n'irindi hohoterwa rishingiye ku gitsina hamwe no kunyuruzwa. Biribonekeza ko ivyo vyaha vyose CPI yemerewe kubukwirikirana. Kubera ivyo, nafashe icemezo co gutanguza itohoza ry'imfatakibanza ku vyabereye mu Burundi guhera muri Ndamukiza 2015.
Itohaza ry'imfatakibanza si itohoza nyaryo. Ni ukuraba neza amakuru dufise kugira dushobore kumenya niba dufise ishingiro ryo gutanguza itohoza ryubahirije ibisabwa n'Amasezerano y'i Roma vyose. Bikaba nkavyo, ingingo ya 53 1) y'Amasezerano y'i Roma ivuga ko kugira Umushikirizamanza Mukuru afate ico cemezo ategerezwa gusuzuma niba Sentare ivyemerewe, niba ibirego bishobora kwakirwa hamwe n'inyungu z'ubutungane. Ibiro nserukiye bisuzuma amakuru n'ivyiyumviro vyose vyashikirijwe mu gihe c'itohoza ry'imfatakibanza, ata bwoba canke kubogama mu kurangura amabanga yavyo, bishingiye mu buryo butayegayezwa ku Masezerano y'i Roma.
Amasezerana y'i Roma nta kiringo ateganya co gukora itohoza ry'imfatakibanza. Bivanye n'ibikorwa bivugwa hamwe n'ingene ibibazo bimeze, Ibiro vyacu birashobora gufata ingingo yo kubandanya gukusanya amakuru kugira bishobore gufata icemezo gikwiye kandi gishingiye kuvyo abo biraba bagirizwa no ku mategeko. Birashobora kandi gutangura itohoza nyaryo, mu gihe abacamanza bavyemeye, canke kwemeza ko ata tohoza bizokora mu gihe bizobona ko kubandanya ico gikorwa ata shingiro vyoba bifise. Hakwirikijywe ingendo y'ubwuzuzanye, Ibiro vyacu bizokorana na Leta y'Uburundi mu ntumbero yo kurabira hamwe ingene itohoza ryokorerwa mu gihugu n'imanza zimwe zikahacirwa.
Uburundi bwateye umukono ku Masezerano y'i Roma. Ni ukuvuga reko ko CPI ifise ububasha bwo gukwirikirana abakoze ihonyabwoko, ivyaha vyibasira inyokomuntu hamwe n'ivyaha vyo mu ngwano vyakorewe ku gataka k'Uburundi guhera muri Kigarama 2004, aribwo ayo Mazerano yabaye itegeko mu Burundi.
Ibiro vy'Umushikirizamanza Mukuru wa CPI birakora itohoza ry'imfatakibanza, itohoza nyaryo hamwe n'ikwirikirana ry'ivyaha vy'ihonyabwoko, ivyaha vyibasira inyokomuntu n'ivyaha vyo mu ngwano. Ivyo bibirangura mu bwigenge no kutabogama. Muri iki gihe, iryo tohoza ririko rirakorwa aha hakwirikira: Ubuganda; Repubulika Iharanira Intwaro Rusangi ya Kongo; Darfur (Sudani); Repubulika ya Afurika ya Hagati (itohoza mu bice bibiri); Kenya; Libiya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali na Jorijiya. Ahandi naho biracakora itohoza ry'imfatakibanza ku vyabaye muri Afghanistani; Kolombia; Guinée; Iraki/UK; Nijeria; Ukraine na Palestina.
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