The International Criminal Court on Thursday approved plans for prosecutors to launch an investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by government forces in Burundi between 2015 - 2017.
The judges said there was "a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation in relation to crimes against humanity," in a statement.
The decision comes just weeks after Burundi opted to remove itself from the international court.
Fighting broke out in 2015 after the president, Pierre Nkurunziza ran for office for the third time. Hundreds were killed as government forces cracked down on opposition supporters.