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UN rebukes Burundi, Duterte over threats against investigators

The UN human rights office on Tuesday condemned attacks and threats made against its investigators by senior Burundian officials and by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

“On Nov 9, Duterte threatened to slap UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard if she investigates him for alleged extrajudicial killings,” human rights spokesman Rupert Covlille said.

NAN reports that In April 2016, the ICC announced it had launched a “preliminary examination” of the situation in Burundi, at the time more than 430 people had reportedly been killed.

This ongoing step, which under ICC procedures determines whether a full investigation should take place, focuses on “killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances that have been allegedly committed since April 2015.”

In October 2016, President Pierre Nkurunziza signed legislation calling for Burundi’s withdrawal from the ICC, notification of which was later that month sent to the UN secretary-general.

Under the Rome Statute, actual withdrawal takes place a year after such notification.

The Burundian government rejected the commission and did not allow members to visit the country.

Interviews were conducted in neighbouring countries, to where hundreds of thousands of Burundians have fled since 2015.

On Sept. 1, Burundi’s parliament announced it would set up its own commission, made up of 12 lawmakers, to look into the UN commission’s findings.

NAN also reports that speaking to overseas Filipino workers in Vietnam, Duterte railed, “I will slap her in front of you. Why? Because you are insulting me.

“Why? Because you yourself do not believe in the research of your own organisation.”

The Philippines leader’s new beef with the French UN official is that she supposedly brought in an expert who

supposedly said on television that drugs are harmless.

Duterte did not name this “doctor” but identified them as “itim (black).”

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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