19 October 2016
The Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) expresses its profound disappointment and concern at the government of Burundi’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Africa Group views the move as an potential obstacle to achieving accountability for crimes committed in Burundi. This decision deprives the victims of human rights violations in the country a recourse to justice.
The Africa Group strongly urges President Pierre Nkurunziza to use his good offices, and along with his government, reconfirm Burundi’s commitment to the human rights of the people of Burundi and to the Rome Statute.
We call upon the government to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the ICC. The Group would also encourage other member-states of the ICC to work with the Burundi government to retain its membership in this very important mechanism for fighting impunity, and defending justice and human rights.
The people of Africa and the African Union embrace the principle of accountability for international crimes as exemplified by the recent trial, conviction and punishment in Senegal of Hissène Habré for crimes committed in Chad. The AGJA therefore urges the government of Burundi to continue to support this noble ideal.
In line with its Kilimanjaro Principles, the Africa Group offers its expertise in facilitation and mediation to Burundi, the ICC, and other relevant actors to ensure that justice for the victims of crimes in Burundi is not sacrificed.
The members of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability:
- Dapo Akande (Nigeria)
Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford
- Femi Falana (Nigeria)
Human rights activist and lawyer
- Hassan Bubacar Jallow (Gambia)
Former Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
- Richard Goldstone (South Africa)
Former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia
- Tiyanjana Maluwa (Malawi)
H. Laddie Montague Chair in Law, Pennsylvania State University School of Law
- Athaliah Molokomme (Botswana)
Attorney General of Botswana
- Betty Kaari Murungi (Kenya)
Independent Consultant on Human Rights and Transitional Justice
- Mohamed Chande Othman (Tanzania)
Chief Justice of Tanzania
- Navi Pillay (South Africa)
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Catherine Samba-Panza (Central African Republic)
Former Transitional President of the Central African Republic
- Fatiha Serour (Algeria)
Director of Serour Associates for Inclusion and Equity
- Abdul Tejan-Cole (Sierra Leone)
Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa