BURUNDI became the first country to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday at the end of its year-long withdrawal period.
Justice Minister Laurentine Kanyana hailed the “great achievement” of leaving the Hague-based court, which has only ever prosecuted Africans.
ICC spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah claimed Burundi’s withdrawal did not affect the court’s probe of human rights abuses committed after President Pierre Nkurunziza declared his intention to seek a third term in office in 2015.
That decision was highly controversial and the government was accused of abducting and murdering opposition supporters, and an abortive coup was staged against Mr Nkrunziza.
There has since been sporadic fighting and a UN commission claimed last month that new abuses were occurring.
Kenya and Uganda have also taken steps to leave the court.
South Africa announced its withdrawal last year, but in February the High Court ruled that MPs must debate the decision.