ICC to investigate past year's deadly violence in Burundi

Amnesty International accuses security forces of killing opponents and dumping them in mass graves.

Burundian investigators stand next to the shrapnel-riddled vehicle in which Tutsi General and security advisor to Burundi's vice president Athanase Kararuza was killed on 25 April 2016 in Bujumbura. Picture: Onesphore Nibigira/AFP.

PRETORIA - High-ranking Burundian army officials continue to be targeted in the turmoil following President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to cling to power.

A security advisor to the country's vice-president has been shot dead while dropping off his daughter at school in the capital Bujumbura.

No group's claimed responsibility for the attack on General Athanase Kararuza and his wife that killed them instantly.

More than 400 people have been killed in violence that flared after Nkurunziza said he would run for an unconstitutional third term a year ago.

Many of the victims have been high-ranking army officers.

Amnesty International accuses security forces of killing opponents and dumping them in mass graves.

ICC INVESTIGATES

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is undertaking a preliminary investigation into the violence in Burundi.

Western powers and regional states fear Burundi could slide back into the ethnically charged conflict that characterized its 1993-2005 civil war.

Opponents accuse Nkurunziza of violating Burundi's constitution and a peace agreement that ended the civil war by running for a third term. The president and his supporters cite a court ruling that said he could run again.

At the weekend, a Burundian army officer being held captive by a rebel group was handed back to his unit, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Preliminary examinations at the ICC, based mainly on publicly available information, can last months or years before leading to a possible full investigation. Only then can criminal charges be brought against individuals suspected of war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The court recently dropped its last case against the leaders of regional power Kenya after a fierce lobbying campaign by the country and its African allies alleging that the court unfairly singled out Africans for prosecution.

Additional reporting by Reuters.