Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague approved on Thursday the chief prosecutor’s request for a full war crimes investigation in Burundi.
The judges found there was “a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation in relation to crimes against humanity” in their decision made on October 25 but not announced publicly until Thursday.
United Nations investigators reported in September there was strong evidence of killings, torture and rape by mainly government forces but also by opposition groups in the land-locked, central African state.
The Burundi government had a “duty to cooperate with the court for the purpose of this investigation,” the court found, since the probe was approved before Burundi’s “withdrawal became effective” from the ICC, the judges said.
They added that if “sufficient evidence” was found, the prosecutor could “issue either summonses to appear or warrants of arrest.”