Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court issued a public decision authorizing the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, allegedly committed in Burundi, or by nationals of Burundi outside Burundi from 26 April 2015 to 26 October 2017.
In the period under consideration, alleged human rights violations were committed in response to the protests and violence following the 2015 elections which resulted in a controversial third mandate for President Pierre Nkrununziza.
The decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize an investigation comes at a particularly delicate time. On 27 October 2017, the decision of Burundi to withdraw from the Rome Statute took effect, making it the first nation to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.
Under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, the withdrawal of Burundi does not discharge it from its obligations under the Statute, for alleged crimes committed in the period during which it was a member of the ICC.