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Burundi, The First Country To Leave International Criminal Court

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Burundi is officially no longer a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it’s request to pullout took effect on Friday, a year after the country notified the court of its intention to leave.

The country notified former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of its intent to leave the court on October 27, 2016, as one of three countries — along with South Africa and The Gambia — to make such moves last year.

Both South Africa and The Gambia later took back their withdrawals.

The ICC, which was established to prosecute the world’s worst atrocities, has said Burundi’s withdrawal does not affect the preliminary examination of the country’s situation already being undertaken by the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.

Many African nations have long accused the court of being biased against Africa, with the overwhelming majority of its investigations targeting the continent. In February 2017, the African Union (AU) called at a summit for a mass withdrawal of member states, but the resolution was not legally binding and was opposed by Nigeria and Senegal.

Following Burundi’s withdrawal, a total of 33 African states are now signatories to the Rome Statute that is the foundation of the ICC, among 123 countries worldwide

The United States, along with Israel, Sudan and Russia, have not ratified the statute, while other countries such as China and India have not even signed it.

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Akin Akingbala is an international journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. Aside being happily married, he has interests in music, sports and loves traveling.

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