ICC prosecutor seeks full investigation into Nigeria violence


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‘SDAs are like our new carpark aunties’
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said she will seek a full investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Boko Haram fighters and Nigeria’s security forces battling them.
Fatou Bensouda said in a statement on Friday 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.
Bensouda’s office has been reviewing the conflict between government forces and Boko Haram and its various splinter groups in western and northern Nigeria since 2010.
She said the office recognised 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.
This included murder, rape, torture and cruel treatment, as well as enforced disappearance and forcible transfer of the population and attacks directed at civilians.
Boko Haram began its violent campaign in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 with the goal of imposing its version of strict Islamic law. Thousands have since been killed and many more displaced.
Bensouda’s office has been reviewing the conflict between government forces and Boko Haram and its various splinter groups since 2010.
Its main group claimed responsibility earlier this month for the massacre of farmworkers in an area outside Borno state’s capital Maiduguri, in which dozens of labourers were mowed down by gunmen on motorbikes.
Agricultural workers were also tied up and had their throats slit in the attack believed to be seeking revenge on villagers for seizing the group’s fighters and handing them over to the authorities.
Amnesty International welcomed the announcement as an “important milestone” and urged the ICC, which was set up in 2002 to try the world’s worst crimes, to swiftly begin an “effective and well-resourced investigation”.
“ICC Prosecutor must now follow with immediate action to open a full investigation,” Netsanet Belay, the group’s director of research and advocacy, wrote on Twitter.
Bensouda’s office is running investigations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, Ivory Coast, Mali, Georgia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and a decision on whether to investigate alleged atrocities in the Palestinian territories, is pending.
Bensouda’s term is due to end on June 15 and her successor has not yet been chosen.
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