The International Criminal Court, ICC, has accused the Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, of crimes against humanity.
ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, identified the crimes committed the group as murder and persecution.
The court found that the group had, since July 2009, launched widespread and systematic attacks in different parts of Nigeria that have led to the untimely death of thousands of persons, irrespective of religion or tribe.
“The scale and intensity of the attacks have increased over time,”Bensouda said.
The ICC said it was now assessing whether the national authorities are conducting genuine proceedings in relation “to those who appear to bear the greatest responsibility for such crimes, and the gravity of such crimes.”
The prosecutor added that her office was still assessing three other phases of the situation in Nigeria, and that once completed, she would decide if these situations meets the legal criteria established by the Rome Statute.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR, have repeatedly warnedBoko Haram against attacks on civilians.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has outlawed the fundamentalist sect and declared a state of emergency in the three most affected states in May to enable the government clampdown on the insurgents.
According to a UNHCR report released in June, related anti-insurgent operations and general insecurity have uprooted thousands of people in north-eastern Nigeria with more than 6,000 of them fleeing to neighbouring Niger for safety.
Located in The Hague, in the Netherlands, the ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes if national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.