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Human Rights Watch welcomes probe into crimes against humanity in Burundi

A panel of three ICC judges will look at the allegedly unchecked abuses by Imbonerakure including rape, torture and executions.

FILE: Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza stands at the Presidential office in Bujumbura on 17 May 2015. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Watchdog group Human Rights Watch has praised the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe crimes against humanity in Burundi.

The group says the ICC’s decision gives victims hope that those responsible for grave crimes over the past two years could be held to account.

The panel of three ICC judges will investigate how President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision two years ago to run for an unconstitutional third term, ignited protests in Burundi that were suppressed by his security service and the youth league of his ruling party known as the Imbonerakure.

It will look at the allegedly unchecked abuses by these groups including rape, torture and executions.

Last month, Burundi became the first country to officially withdraw from the ICC.

The court still has jurisdiction over crimes committed during the 13 years that it was a member.

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