Burundi and the International Criminal Court Factsheet

19 October 2017
Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Document type: 
On 27 October 2017, Burundi became the first country to withdraw from the Rome Statute (RS) of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Two days prior to the withdrawal, ICC judges had authorized—under seal—the opening of an investigation into alleged RS crimes committed in Burundi, or by its nationals outside of the country, between 2015 and 2017. At the time of the state’s withdrawal from the ICC, the situation in Burundi since April 2015 was classified as under preliminary examination (PE) by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). The OTP’s PE in Burundi was considered to be at the subject-matter determination phase (Phase 2) at the time of the OTP’s last PE report (14 November 2016), prior to the situation being moved to investigation. The OTP investigation will look into alleged crimes against humanity, including murder, imprisonment, torture, rape, enforced disappearance, and persecution, among others, committed in Burundi or outside of the country by its nationals between 26 April 2015 and 26 October 2017. In their 25 October decision authorizing the investigation, judges in ICC Pre-Trial Chamber III noted that Burundi’s obligation to cooperate with the investigation stands and covers any resulting proceedings, which could also consider alleged crimes from before 26 April 2015 or after the withdrawal if related to crimes allegedly committed while Burundi was an ICC member state. This factsheet reviews the background to the situation in Burundi leading up to the October 2017 withdrawal and investigation authorization; and reflects on what Burundi’s future as a non-state party might look like.