The president of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza has signed legislation to make Burundi the first country to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, ICC. Officials said on Tuesday that President Pierre Nkurunziza approved the law after it won lawmakers’ support last week.
Burundi’s decision to quit the ICC follows a bitter dispute with the international community over the human rights situation in the East African country. More than a year of deadly violence has followed Nkurunziza’s controversial decision to pursue a third term.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby has said withdrawing from the ICC would “isolate Burundi from its neighbors and the international community at a time when accountability, transparency and engaged dialogue are most needed.”
The Hague-based court prosecutes cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Some African countries have said it unfairly targets the continent.
Some African countries have threatened a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, accusing the court of disproportionately targeting the continent. The treaty had 124 member states before Burundi’s move.