Thank you Mr. Chairman for giving me once again an opportunity to take the floor, not in the same terms as my statement yesterday but got up to present the position of Burundi on the relationship between the ICC and Africa.
Despite its specificity, the Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty. Like all treaties it is founded on the consent of state parties. That consent was freely given and can be freely withdrawn if the objectives for which the consent was given is traversed. The Rome Treaty has inbuilt provisions to ensure that the founding objectives of the treaty are seen to be realized without discrimination. The principle of non-discrimination is a treaty obligation applicable to most international treaties. Discrimination and inequality in treatment is at the base of most problems threatening the world today. They are at the origin of most of the crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Rome Treaty.
Burundi and some African countries believe that the ICC has little regard for the principle of complementarity. There is no laid down policy for the enforcement of the complementary rights of state parties. A preliminary examination cannot and must not be the opportunity to obtain information relating to a state party’s fulfillment of its complementary treaty obligation.
The report published by the ICC on preliminary examination situations ; in particular relating to Burundi, does not contain any information establishing that Burundi failed in its complementary treaty obligations prior to a decision to commence a preliminary examination in Burundi. This means that there exists no established transparent policy known to Burundi and a number of African state parties on the exercise and verification of effective fulfillment of the right of complementarity prior to ICC publicized interventions in the form of preliminary examinations. The result is that a decision on preliminary examination is based on discretionary subjective basis unknown to state parties. A policy on the exercise of the right of complementarity and a verification of its effective fulfillment must perforce include an effective policy of cooperation and communication. The Prosecutor must defer first to state parties asserting their rights of complementarity and only intervene in any manner whatsoever when the country has failed to demonstrate that it can investigate and prosecute all crimes taking place in its national territory. That assessment cannot and should not be made only in the process of a preliminary examination.
The right of complementarity is afforded to state parties and not to non-state parties and non-state actors. In the case of Burundi, the preliminary the Prosecutor made a determination to commence a preliminary examination prior to having a discussion with Burundi ignoring Burundi’s insistent requests to exercise its right of complementarity over alleged crimes committed within its national territory. In this process, the Prosecutor has to the dismay of Burundi, afforded Burundian outlaws facing charges before the courts of Burundi for serious crimes perpetrated in the exercise of Burundi’s right of complementarity, the opportunity to fake victims to their own acts of criminality, present fabricated reports and conduct a campaign of blackmail against Burundi. With the support of hostile foreign interests these outlaws are often encouraged to complicate the exercise by Burundi of its statutory complementary rights. The report on preliminary examinations by the Prosecutor proves this point.
The ICC Assembly of State Parties must find a solution to complaints of inappropriate targeting of Africa by the ICC. Those dismissing these concerns point to the fact that some African States invited the ICC intervention. This response makes no sense at all. It fails to answer Africa’s concerns that the court should fulfill its universal mandate irrespective of whether some African countries invited it or not. If after inviting the ICC the same African countries still forcefully express these concerns, it means there is something fundamentally wrong. African crimes are not committed exclusively by Africans. The ICC investigation in African must target mercenaries and non-African perpetrators who supply weapons with which the crimes are committed.
Mr. Chairman in conclusion, my country invites the ICC and through it, the international community to strive for impartial contradictory justice. The ICC should have a third ear to listen to all parties. The international community should no longer enroll in shameful logic of dividing to conquer and be careful not to set fire to fire. Rwanda should serve as a case study.
Thank you very much for your attention.