THE HAGUE, Netherlands (UPI) — Burundi officially withdrew from the International Criminal Court on Friday, a year after the government initiated proceedings saying the court was biased against African nations.
The landlocked nation was one of three African countries to announce plans to leave the international body in 2016, but Gambia and South Africa decided to stay in.
That leaves 122 member states in the ICC.
African nations say the ICC focuses a disproportionate amount of time investigating the continent. The ICC said that even though Burundi withdrew, it will continue to investigate alleged war crimes there.
Amnesty International, a human rights organization, said the withdrawal “will not derail [the] wheels of justice.”
“The Burundian government has made a cynical attempt to evade justice by taking the unprecedented step of withdrawing from the ICC,” said Matt Cannock, AI’s head of international justice. “But perpetrators, including members of the security forces, cannot so easily shirk their alleged responsibility for crimes under international law committed since 2015.”
Shortly after Burundi announced its intent to leave the ICC, Russia said it too would withdraw from the court. Though Russia had signed the Rome Statute to join the ICC, the country never ratified the treaty.
Burundi was thrown into turmoil in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to run for office for a third time. Security forces clashed with protesters who said a third term would be unconstitutional.
Written by UPI writer Danielle Haynes