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Sudanese presidency welcomes Burundi’s withdrawal from ICC

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October 20, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese presidency Thursday welcomed a decree by Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza on Tuesday for Burundi to quit the International Criminal Court (ICC), and reiterated call for a mass African withdrawal from the tribunal.

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FILE - Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir flanked by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and South African leader Jacob Zuma (Reuters Photo)

The unprecedented decision has been issued after a vote by the Burundian parliament on 12 October to quit the Dutch based court. Only two MPs voted in favour of maintaining the country membership in the ICC, while 94 voted against and 14 abstained.

Last April, the war crimes court opened a preliminary investigation into politically motivated violence in Burundi. President Nkurunziza himself is accused of involving the death of several hundred people.

In a statement released on Thursday the Sudanese presidency said it "received with pride and honour" the decree issued by President Nkurunziza announcing the withdrawal of his country from the ICC.

"This wise decision is established by the Republic of Burundi on objective grounds that the so-called International Criminal Court has become a tool of pressure and instability in the under-development countries. Further, the opening of investigations against some leaders is a result of pressures exercised by the western force," said the statement.

The Sudanese presidency further said that this decision expresses the "will of the free leaders and people in the world" and called for a mass withdrawal of the other African countries from the court, saying the African Union Summit described it as a "mechanism of the new colonialism".

Last July, the 27th AU summit held in the Rwandan capital Kigali did not call for a mass withdrawal from the court, despite calls by several African leaders including Sudan. However, an African Union ministerial committee is debating the issue and is expected to present reform demands at the next meeting of ICC assembly of states parties, in November.

An African official involved in the discussions told the Financial Time that African leaders will take a decision on this respect after November meeting.

“What happens there will determine what steps the AU takes next,” he said.

In two arrest warrants, the ICC accuses Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict.

(ST)

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