The International Criminal Court (ICC), through the Office of the Prosecutor, has criticized the Nigerian Government over their inability to prosecute security forces and Boko Haram terrorists for crimes against humanity.
ICC articulated its disappointment in its latest statement showing findings of preliminary examination activities in countries experiencing terrorist activities.
The International Criminal Court says, there have been an extensive range of crimes against humanity committed in Nigeria but there was only little effort from the government to bring the perpetrators to book.
ICC acknowledges that the Nigerian authorities appear to have taken a number of steps towards ascertaining the criminal responsibility of suspected perpetrators, it reckons that the investigative and prosecutorial activities undertaken to date in relation to both members of Boko Haram and security forces have been limited both in their scope and depth.
It said, “The Office has examined information regarding a wide range of alleged crimes committed on the territory of Nigeria. The International Criminal Court has been able to arrive at subject-matter determinations on the majority of allegations concerning crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by the dreaded Boko Haram members and members of the Nigerian Security Force (NSF) from year 2009 until early 2019.
There was a reasonable basis to believe that between 1st January 2013 and 31st March 2015, both Boko Haram and the NSF committed crimes under the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.
With respect to gender-based and sexual crimes and other crimes being committed against children, the international court earlier found a reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram’s specific targeting of both females and males constitute acts of persecution on gender grounds.
ICC also found during the reporting era a reasonable basis for believing that members of the Nigeria Security Force persecuted on gender grounds military aged males suspected of being Boko Haram members or cohorts.
“Other allegations that the Office has been reviewing include allegations with respect to the conduct of the Nigerian Security Force against members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and communal crisis in Nigeria’s North Central and North East geographical zones.
The available information suggests while some investigation and/or prosecutorial steps are being taken by the authorities to ascertain the criminal responsibility of suspected Boko Haram members and their associates, these appear limited in scope and depth.
With respect to allegations against members of the Nigerian Security Force (NSF), the information available similarly indicates only a limited number of proceedings have been conducted against members of the Nigerian Security Force.
Which include the absence of legislative provisions addressing certain categories of conduct; the persistence of the armed conflict; insufficient investigation files; an over-reliance on confession-based proof; a lack of forensic proof; limited cooperation between investigators and prosecutors at pre-investigation points; logistical intricacies, poor security for counsels, and the challenges of switching military intelligence to permissible proof.