NETSANET Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director says an ICC investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in northeast Nigeria is now inevitable.
“The Prosecutor has confirmed yet again that the Nigerian government is not taking steps to deliver justice,” Belay said while reacting to the publication of the annual report of the Prosecutor of the ICC on preliminary examinations, which sets out the work of the ICC over the last year looking at countries around the world where crimes may have been committed to decide whether to open investigations,
“Victims have been waiting for justice for over 10 years,” he added in a document released on Thursday by the AI.
According to him, the Prosecutor has also confirmed that she will make a final decision in 2020 on whether to proceed to investigate specific crimes.
“Should Nigerian authorities fail to demonstrate tangible steps to fulfil their obligations, she will be bound to proceed towards a full investigation,” Belay said.
The Nigerian government, he noted, has already demonstrated that it is not willing to investigate and prosecute those responsible for heinous crimes committed by all parties to the conflict in the North east.
“The ICC should have already launched an investigation but there can be no doubt that the time will come in 2020 for the ICC to step up to its role as the court of last resort.
“States parties to the Rome Statue must step up to provide the necessary resources to the Court and reiterate cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor to enable such an investigation into the situation in Nigeria.”
Amnesty International recalled that both Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces have committed war crimes and other serious violations and abuses of human rights law, since the beginning of the conflict in July 2009.
The ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Nigeria in 2010.
The OTP on Thursday it released its 2019 report on preliminary examinations. It appears that the Office still has not determined whether or not to open an investigation into the situation, close to ten years after the opening of the preliminary examination.
However, it is clear that the Prosecutor is losing patience with the failure by Nigeria to investigate and prosecute those responsible for violation of the Rome Statute.