The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking a full investigation of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity during the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
Also to be probed are Nigerian security forces for alleged “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes”.
The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in a statement yesterday that her office had completed a preliminary examination and found a “reasonable basis to believe” that Boko Haram and its splinter groups had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, through murder, rape, sexual slavery and torture.
Judges must approve the request for the investigation to proceed.
The ICC prosecutor’s office has been reviewing the conflict over the last 10 years.
It admitted that the vast majority of the crimes were attributable to non-state actors, but that it had also found a “reasonable basis” to believe that members of the Nigerian security forces had also committed crimes.
Such crimes are: murder, rape, torture and cruel treatment, enforced disappearance, forcible transfer of population, outrages upon personal dignity, intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such and against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities, unlawful imprisonment, conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces and using them to participate actively in hostilities, persecution on gender and political grounds and other inhumane acts.”
She said the allegations “are also sufficiently grave to warrant investigation by my office, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. My office will provide further details in our forthcoming annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities.”
The ICC prosecutor’s office is similarly investigating the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, Ivory Coast, Mali, Georgia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Bensouda’s statement added that the court set up in 2002 in The Hague, Netherlands, is to prosecute atrocities when member states were unwilling or unable to do so themselves due to capacity constraints.
Kindly Follow Us On Twitter