ICC commences investigation of Nigerian Army, Boko Haram for human rights abuses

The International Criminal Court, ICC, has started the process of investigating human rights abuses by the Nigerian military.

The Netherlands-based court will also investigate abuses by Boko Haram, the terror group whose activities have caused the death of about 20,000 people in Nigeria since 2009.

The military has been accused of illegal killings and incarceration by local and international groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

However, on Wednesday, the Nigerian government expressed commitment to upholding the highest standards of human rights in the conduct of all international affairs including counter insurgency operations in the country.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, made the pledge when he received a delegation from the office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, the ICC Prosecutor.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, the minister assured the delegation that Nigeria had high value for its relationship with the ICC.

Mr. Malami said that the Nigerian Army has conducted its operations in the North East region of the country in a highly professional manner, imbibing best practices in the areas of international human rights.

He also said that he was aware of the eight case files opened against Nigeria by the ICC which the prosecutor intended to investigate in her next stage of assessment of the Nigeria situation.

According to him, six of the alleged cases were committed by the Boko Haram sect while the remaining two are by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The minister insisted that Nigeria had the prerogative rights in handling the alleged crimes referred to in the prosecutor’s 2015 report of activities in the country.

“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report and will therefore continue present efforts in the above direction.’’

He further added that the government was committed to ensuring that troops were guided by the rules of engagement, promising that any infractions would be severely dealt with.

He solicited the support and understanding of ICC and the international community especially in regards to the conduct of the affairs of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Responding, the leader of delegation, Phakiso Choko, said that the prosecutor did not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment.

He said that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations were unable to resolve through internal mechanism.

The prosecutor, through the delegation, expressed support and willingness to work with Nigeria in addressing all identified crimes and criminality against humanity.



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  • Toni B. Umole

    Premium Times Editor,

    Muhamadu Buhari
    has had no moment of glory since coming into power on 29th May 2015.
    He’s done nothing right ever since. Nigeria is in permanent darkness from
    electricity outages – far worse than he met the country – and on top of that,
    there’s been no petrol at the fuel station following Buhari’s inability to plan.
    Because there’s no electricity and no petrol in Nigeria, there’s no water, as
    water corporations need electricity to power water plants. The Nigerian
    tragedy is made complete by Muhamadu Buhari.

    The Buhari regime has broken down like a bad car. The regime’s
    Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, goes into hiding with nothing to crow
    about as failures mount on failures to make the Buhari government look rogue.

    Daily Telegraph of London yesterday described Buhari as someone on a vile
    witch-hunt against rivals in PDP. Worse than that the newspaper said Buhari is
    corrupt for diverting the foreign aid Britain gave to wrong purposes of fighting
    his imagined enemies in PDP. Now comes the International Criminal Court with
    two serious cases of genocide and war crimes against Nigeria and the Buhari
    government as pertain the mindless killing of over 347 Shiite Muslims on
    religious procession in Kaduna.

    • Suleiman

      The ICC is what it is; a kangaroo court to try African leaders. Can there be atrocities more than those committed by George Walker Bush of US during the Iraq war? Yet America is not a member of this court. Why are African leaders quick to join such draconian organizations? Must Nigeria be a member of this court? What do we need from this court? This is not to undermine the fact that many have died from human right abuses in Nigeria but don’t we have laws in he country to deal with such cases? Let me just ask, “who is the court going to arrest from the Boko Haram side? I remember some koo koo face lady came up on TV screens just before the 2015 general elections to tell us she had jurisdiction over Nigeria. Well, like the saying goes, “what goes up must come down or what goes around come around.” Buhari and the APC invited the ICC during the elections not knowing they could fall victims of the same court. God help us

      • Otile

        What are you crying about? Without ICC African brutes like Taylor, Bemba and some Rwandan killers would still be in Africa killing and maiming their perceived enemies. ICC is welcome to intervene in Nigeria to prevail on Buhari before he kills more innocent people. Thank God there is something like ICC.

  • Otile

    Boo hoo. We told you so. We warned you that Buhari and Osinbajo have been soiling their hands by the reckless way they are killing their political enemies. Their hands are soaked in blood from various massacres in Onitsha, Aba, Nsukka, Zaria, Agatu, and PH. The evidence for these crimes against humanity are so clear Buhari and Osinbanjo cannot deny them away. Nigeria has now got to look for a leader, this time let them get a young educated bright eloquent leader with foresight. It does not matter which tribe the good leader comes from. We are tired of hearing cowards insisting that only Fulani must rule Nigeria.

    Buhari’s cup is full, investigations must proceed. Ignorant Buhari supporters may dismiss the ICC all they want, but the evil day is finally upon the killers. Slobadan and his supporters snubbed ICC, so did Charles Taylor, and Bemba of Congo but in the end they all wound up at the Hague in handcuffs. Some boastful ignorant Nigerians supporting the killers will likewise dismiss this investigation but they are in for surprises.

    • Suleiman

      Otile, am not a fan of the Buhari administration, but I must say that this is way out of line. I hope you can provide evidence for what you have written here. We must show some sense of decorum when we write. You can disrespect Buhari as a person, but I take exception to the disrespect of the exalted office of the President! Where is the evidence to show that the president and vice are killing their political enemies?

      • Otile

        Is Kanu of IPOB a friend of Buhari? Hasn’t Buhari sent troops to massacre agitators who happen to support Kanu’s call for freedom of Igbo people in Buhari’s Nigeria? Has Osibanjo resigned his post to show that he does not support Buhari’s killings?

        Has Buhari not sent killer soldiers to massacre his politico-religious enemies in Zaria. Did Osinbajo resign over the killings?

        Do you want me to continue to enumerate? Why is Taylor at the Hague today?

        Respect is reciprocal. If Buhari wants respect he must not use executive power to discriminate and persecute his perceived opponents. Using presidential power to destroy certain people does not call for respect and decorum.

  • Excisionist

    The ICC should be investigating the role of the Nigerian army in the massacre of Hausa Shiite Muslims in Zaria. There is no doubt about this one. I hope this is not a distratction from the Zaria massacre.

  • Höly Wähala

    Boko Haram is an outlaw terrorist organization, any and all their actions do not need investigating for law enforcement agencies worldwide to arrest and prosecute them for their acts of terrorism… however, it is the criminal actions of the barbaric Nigerian Army with regards to the senseless slaughters of 1000 Sunni Shiites in Zaria that must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible for it prosecuted to the length of the Law. The international community should insist on Nigeria punishing the criminals involved in the massacre, burning and mass burial of those innocent Nigerians based on ther sectarian affiliations, the ICC must step-in and file their own preliminary charges (after investigations) because leaving it entirely to Nigeria’s jaundiced hustice system means ‘shikena’ for the victims and the bereaved families… not minding the claims to sovereign rights and all that crap from our AGF and his co-conspirators in this adminstration viz: Gen. Buratai, Maj. Gen. Adeniyi and the IGP pelu Minister of Interior, they’re all complicit in the cover-up of the mayhem of Zaria. Animals!

  • Aminu Baba

    This ICC eh, de no get work. Na only powerless third world countries de fit investigate? What of the horrific human rights abuses committed by the U.S against innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan? What of Israeli massacres of Palestinians and usurpation of their lands? What of the horrendous genocide against the minority Muslims of Burma? Are all these not significant human rights abuses worthy of the court’s attention?