It seems that the only way that the International Criminal Court (ICC) can get African governments to keep their countries in the body is to allow these governments to get away with the atrocities that are actively being committed in some of their countries.
Kenya’s government, for instance, is one of the most vocal African government’s against the ICC, insisting that the body is unfairly targeting African governments and attempting to work their way out of the body.
But the ICC’s investigation into the events of the 2007 elections that saw both President Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto facing the court was the only avenue left for the citizens to get justice for all the deaths that occurred.
Burundi has been in political turmoil since April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunzinza began his bid for a third term. In the wake of that political turmoil, 400 people have been killed in unrests and more than 200,000 have fled their homes.
Six months ago, the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda had voiced the court’s intent to investigate the ongoing violence in the country. Local news sources in the country have, however, reported about a meeting on Thursday evening in Gitega in central Burundi which saw President Pierre Nkurunziza and his council of Ministers agreeing to formally instruct parliament to start the process of ditching the ICC.
Vice President Gaston Sindimwo said that the country is “ready to face the consequences of withdrawal,” To withdraw, a draft law to begin the process of leaving the ICC is to be sent to parliament for approval.
The ICC withdrawal process is designed to come into effect at least a year after a country has notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations. One lawyer, Nigarura Lambert, who is representing some of the Burundian citizens that have reported their government to the ICC, says that the country’s withdrawal will have no effect on the preliminary investigation that is already in gear. In his words;
“The withdrawal of Burundi from ICC does not prevent the International Criminal Court from continuing to investigate this country,”
Human rights activists have already begun criticizing the government’s move but some other Africans are cheering them on with the view that the International Criminal Court is simply a Wester tool to keep Africa under.