Boko Haram Has Committed Crimes Against Humanity-ICC

Boko_Haram_leader__Abubakar_Shekau_916127537_288923525By Danlami Nmodu

The International Criminal Court has determined that the militant Boko Haram sect in Nigeria has committed  crimes against humanity . A release on Monday said “As part of it ongoing preliminary examination of the situation in Nigeria, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today(August 5,2013)  published a new report presenting its findings with respect to the analysis of jurisdictional  issues.

The release said”After analyses of all available information, the Office of the Prosecutor has determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have  been committed in Nigeria, namely acts of murder and persecution attributed to Boko Haram, a militant group operating mainly in north-eastern Nigeria. The Office of the Prosecutor is 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 assessment of jurisdictional issues with respect to other groups in Nigeria will continue.

Click to Download the ICC Aug 2013 Prelim Assessment Report – Nigeria PDF

“The Report is based on information gathered by the Office up to December 2012. It relates to one the four phases in the Prosecutor’s preliminary examination of the situation  in Nigeria, namely phase 2. Only after completion of all phases the Prosecutor will make a determination whether a fully-fledged investigation is warranted.

Excerpts from the report   said “The Office considers that there is a reasonable basis to believe that, since July 2009, Boko Haram has committed the following acts constituting crimes against humanity: (i) murder under article 7(1)(a); and (ii) persecution under article 7(1)(h) of the Statute. In particular, the information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that, since July 2009, Boko Haram has launched a widespread and systematic attack that has resulted in the killing of more than 1,200 Christian and Muslims civilians in different locations throughout Nigeria. The scale and intensity  of the attacks have increased over time. The consistent pattern of such incidents indicates that the group possesses the means to carry out a widespread and/or systematic attack, and displays the degree of internal coordination and organizational control required to that end. The attacks have been committed pursuant to the policy defined at the leadership level of Boko Haram, which aims at imposing an exclusively Islamic system of government in northern Nigeria at the expense of Christians specifically. Opponents of this goal have been targeted as well.

The ICC reports said further,”Although allegations against Nigerian security forces in the context of their operations against Boko Haram may constitute serious human rights violations, the information available as of December 2012 does not provide a reasonable basis to believe that the alleged crimes were committed pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to attack the civilian population. At the time of writing this report, there is also no reasonable basis to believe that the confrontations between the security forces and Boko Haram amount to an armed conflict. Both matters remain the subject of on-going analysis.”

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