Nigerian Army guilty of war crimes: ICC

Posted by News Express | 11 December 2018 | 1,867 times

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• The International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled that Nigerian army is guilty of war crimes against humanity.

The ICC stated in its latest report that it received a total of 169 petitions from Nigeria which it assessed.

It said it came to the conclusion, based on the assessment of the petitions, that security forces in Nigeria committed war crimes varying from murder, torture, and intentionally attacking the civilian population.

It said: “Specifically, the Office found a reasonable basis to believe that the NSF committed the war crimes of murder pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i); torture, cruel treatment pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i); outrages upon personal dignity pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(ii); and intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population.”

According to Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, in her annual report on preliminary examination activities (2018), the ICC found reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram also committed war crimes against humanity.

“Furthermore, the Office found a reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram committed the war crimes of murder pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i); cruel treatment pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i) and outrages upon personal dignity pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(ii), it said.”

The ICC added that Boko Haram was “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population or against individual civilians pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(i); intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to education and to places of worship and similar institutions pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(iv); pillaging a town or place pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(v); rape, sexual slavery and sexual violence pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(vi)”.

The office of the prosecutor added that the ICC met with Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), to further investigate eight potential cases of war crimes against humanity.

According to the court, “Files pertaining to alleged violations by members of the army were submitted to the Office (of the prosecutor). These files relate to a limited extent to the two potential cases identified by the Office.”

It added: “Of the 27 files provided to the Office, 24 either lacked information to determine their relevance for the admissibility assessment or did not appear relevant.”

The ICC was of the opinion that “other information specifically requested by the Office which was assessed to be potentially relevant to the admissibility assessment has yet to be provided by the Nigerian authorities”.

Since 2017, the court said, the Nigerian authorities appear to have “taken concrete steps toward fulfilling their primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute ICC crimes”.

It continued: “While there seems to be a tangible prospect of further proceedings against members of Boko Haram, including high-level commanders, at this stage the same cannot be said of the NSF, in particular since the Nigerian authorities tend to deny any allegation against the latter.

“While acknowledging the cooperation of the Nigerian authorities in the course of the preliminary examination, the Office will require, for the purpose of expediting its complementarity assessment, further information and evidence demonstrating that relevant national proceedings are being or intended to be conducted without delay.”

The ICC also disclosed that it was examining the farmers-herders crisis in the country.

Based on the information available, the Office found a reasonable basis to believe that between January 1, 2013 and March 31, 2015, both Boko Haram and the NSF committed crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Similarly, the crimes allegedly committed by the NSF against military aged males suspected of being Boko Haram members or supporters, according to the ICC may constitute persecution on gender grounds.

The Office is also analysing information related to new allegations implicating the NSF.

In particular, different sources reported on alleged sexual violence against women and girls in camps of internally displaced persons in the North-East Nigeria which are under the control of the NSF and the Civilian Joint Task Force.

In respect of the farmers-herders crisis, the ICC stated: “The Office received communications on attacks allegedly carried out by Fulani herders and Christian settlers in the context of the violence in Nigeria’s North Central and North-East geographical zones.

“This violence, which has been observed by the Office since 2016, is often referred to as a conflict between Fulani herders and Christian farmers, stemming from limited access to water, land and other resources.”

It also reported on the escalation of violence in late 2017 and 2018.

It said: “The escalation of violence in late 2017 and 2018 is reportedly the result of the rise of ethnic militias and community vigilantes and the passage of grazing laws in some of the affected states that reportedly imposed restrictions on herders, among others. 

“Militias are also reported to have clashed with NSF deployed in the affected area to address the deteriorating security situation. 

“Some of the attacks on civilians were allegedly committed by criminal gangs involved in cattle-rustling that were subsequently blamed on Fulani herders.

“The Office has reviewed these communications and continues to gather additional information to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crimes allegedly committed in this context fall under ICC jurisdiction.”

Sourced from a Daily Independent report


Source: News Express

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