The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has opened a preliminary probe into atrocities in Burundi over the last year, saying violence in the African nation has reportedly left more than 430 people dead and forced 230,000 to flee their homes.

Burundi descended into violence last year after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for a third term, a move widely seen as unconstitutional. The Burundian government has repeatedly denied it tortures and kills civilians, although Nkurunziza urged the security forces to use all means necessary to end the violence.

The "preliminary examination" announced Monday is a step toward a full investigation that could lead to Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda filing charges against suspects.

Bensouda says her investigators have received reports of crimes including "killing, imprisonment, torture (and) rape" in Burundi.