Boko Haram: ICC ready to prosecute war crime cases in Nigeria

THE International Criminal Court (ICC) says except the Nigerian government genuinely provide adequate information to affirm its commitment to investigating and also prosecuting those involved in the allegation of war crimes committed by the Boko Haram sect and the local military; it may resolve to invoke Article 15 of the Rome Statute.

The ICC particularly blamed the Federal Government for being docile on the several war crime allegations.

Office of the Prosecutor, via a document – Report on Preliminary Examination Activities released on its website, said despite meeting with the Nigerian government on October 2019, no significant feedback has been provided.

“While the Nigerian authorities appear to have taken a number of steps towards ascertaining the criminal responsibility of alleged perpetrators, the investigative/prosecutorial activities undertaken to date in relation to both members of Boko Haram and of the NSF appear to have been limited both in their scope and depth.

“In particular, according to the information available, it does not appear that the authorities are investigating and/or prosecuting cases concerning substantially the same conduct or cases that are otherwise similar to those identified by the Office.

“To date, the repeated commitment of the Nigerian authorities to provide the Office with relevant information in this respect has not materialised,” the report stated.

“During 2020, the Office will continue to urge the Nigerian authorities to tangibly demonstrate that they are indeed fulfilling their primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute ICC crimes, in the absence of which the Office will need to come to its own determination with respect to the admissibility of the potential cases it has identified and on whether the requirements of article 15 have been met.”

However, the ICC had listed 10 areas of concerns against the military and the Boko Haram members based on its preliminary reports and admissibility assessment.

For the Boko Haram, the ICC identified: targeted attacks against the civilian population; abduction and imprisonment of civilians; attacks against education (school, teachers and school children); and the recruitment, use of children to partake in hostilities.

Others are attacks against girls and women; attacks against building dedicated to religion; and attacks against personnel or objects involved in humanitarian assistance.

In the second category levelled against the Nigerian security forces, ICC specifically accused the forces of “killing, torture or ill-treatment of military-aged males suspected to be Boko Haram members or supporters in northeast Nigeria.”

Also, alleged “Attacks against the civilian population and the recruitment, use of children under 15 to participate in hostilities.”

The ICIR had earlier done reports on how men in the northeast, particularly Borno State went missing after being arrested by the military.

Aside, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) also accused the federal government of being docile over the Boko Haram attacks, yet the federal government insisted it is doing its best to curtail insurgency.

Olugbenga heads the Investigations Desk at The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at [email protected]. Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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