World

International court opens probe into Burundi deadly violence

THE HAGUE — International Criminal Court judges have authorized an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored crimes in Burundi including murder, rape, and torture, announcing the decision Thursday shortly after the East African nation became the first to formally quit the court.

Judges said evidence provided by prosecutors offers ‘‘a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation’’ into crimes committed since April 26, 2015, allegedly by ‘‘state agents and other groups implementing state policies.’’

Burundi descended into violence that left hundreds dead in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for a third term, which he ultimately won.

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‘‘According to estimates, at least 1,200 persons were allegedly killed, thousands illegally detained, thousands reportedly tortured, and hundreds disappeared,’’ the court said in a statement. ‘‘The alleged acts of violence have reportedly resulted in the displacement of 413,490 persons between April 2015 and May 2017.’’

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The crimes allegedly were committed by Burundi’s national police force, intelligence service, units of the country’s army, and members of the youth wing of the ruling party, known as the Imbonerakure.

associated press