Burundi opposition leaders have condemned President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President John Magufuli of Tanzania for trying to defending President Pierre Nkurunziza against the International Criminal Court.
On October 25, 2017, Judges Chang-ho Chung, Atoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua, and Raul C. Pangalangan of Pretrial Chamber III authorised the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court legally committed in Burundi by nationals of Burundi and outside Burundi since 26 April 2015 until October 2017 instructions for investigation of the Burundi Crisis.
Museveni who is also the Chairperson of the East Africa Community (EAC) said anything that goes into disturbing peace would not be supported by the EAC.
President Museveni said he would also consult with other EAC leaders and send out communication to the ICC.
But Minani Jérémie, the commissioner for communication and public relations at CNARED, says he was stunned by statement of Magufuli and Museveni condemning ICC investigation in Burundi “just because they were not consulted or because there is a inter Burundian dialogue underway”.
“They simply want to secure impunity for Burundi’s cruel ruler. Outrageous,” Minani said.
Minani emphasised a NO to Museveni’s suggestion of a truth and reconciliation commission saying it doesn’t deal with crimes committed after 2005.
“And Arusha agreement is clear: for war crimes, against humanity and genocide, that commission has no authority. Do your mediation job and let ICC deal with them,” the opposition politician suggested.
In an interview March this year, Minani told ikiriho.org that “If Magufuli raises his voice, Nkurunziza will have no choice but to execute”, suggesting that the Tanzania leader is playing puppeteer while his Burundi counterpart is the puppet.
He urged the region to invest in bringing President Nkurunziza to the negotiating table. Otherwise, it should drive away the strong man of Burundi by the arms.
For Minani, the strongman of the sub-region able to “look into Nkurunziza’s eyes” remains President Magufuli.
In a statement, Charles Nditije the chairman of CNARED, the opposition coalition in exile, says the dialogue process did not really advance even before the ICC has made the decision.
“They should seek their motives on the side of their commitments in this process and on the side of Burundi government which has never been part of the inclusive dialogue,” he told Iwacu.
CNARED Chairman says both presidents should convince Burundi government that peace talks must be negotiated between all parties involved in the Burundian crisis and the security of refugees and opposition leaders who will attend the dialogue sessions must be ensured.
“If these conditions are not respected, the success of Burundi peace talks will be limited and it is probable that Burundi and the whole region plunge into the mass crimes”, he says.
He said several refugees living in Tanzania have already returned to Burundi and others continue to do so.
But Burundi Justice Minister Aimée Laurentine Kanyana says Burundi will never cooperate with the ICC.
“This decision has no effect for Burundi following its effective withdrawal from the Rome Statute since 27 October 2017”, she says.