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Amnesty backs ICC’s move to probe war crime allegations against Nigerian security agencies

Amnesty backs ICC’s move to probe war crime allegations against Nigerian security agencies
December 11
21:48 2020

Amnesty International has called for immediate investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC), following a preliminary probe over allegations of war crimes committed by the Nigerian military and Boko Haram.

Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor, had disclosed earlier on Friday that there is “reasonable basis to believe that members of the Nigerian Security Forces (NSF)” had committed crimes.

The ICC’s preliminary probe started on November 8, 2010, making it a decade-old examination by the prosecutor’s office.

Bensouda identified crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram to include murder, rape, sexual slavery, torture, persecution, hostage taking and enlisting children under the age of 15 into armed groups.


She also accused the military forces of committing murder, rape, torture, forcible transfer of population and enlisting children under 15 into the armed forces.

The prosecutor alleged that Boko Haram and the Nigerian military have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, adding that the Nigerian government has failed in its obligations to hold those responsible to account.

Reacting in a statement, Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s director of research and advocacy, described the development as the first meaningful step towards justice for victims of war crimes in the north-east region.


He said the milestone decision paves the way for full investigation into war atrocities in Nigeria.

“After years of calling on the ICC Prosecutor to open a full investigation, this is the first meaningful step towards justice that we have seen for victims of atrocious crimes committed by all parties to the conflict in Northeast Nigeria,” he said.

“This is an important milestone, but it must be followed with immediate action to open a full investigation. For the victims of war crimes and potential crimes against humanity to see justice, it’s crucial that the Prosecutor swiftly begin an effective and well-resourced investigation.

“Victims have already waited a decade for justice. The Office of the Prosecutor must now move swiftly to seek the judicial authority needed to initiate the full investigation; further delays will only serve to frustrate victims and run the risk of evidence and witness testimony being lost forever.”


The prosecutor is expected to submit a request to ICC judges who will decide whether or not a formal investigation will be conducted.

Amnesty International said an investigation by the ICC will validate many of its reports released over the years on war crimes in Nigeria’s north-east region, and urged ICC states parties to ensure that any investigation in Nigeria is adequately resourced.

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