The International Criminal Court based in The Hague announced it will move forward to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes in Nigeria, where Boko Haram’s activities and other attacks have gone on for years.
The announcement was made Friday by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
“My office has concluded that there is a reasonable basis to believe that members of Boko Haram and its splinter groups have committed the following acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes,” said Bensouda. Her statement lists murder, rape, sexual slavery and torture among the allegations subject to further inquiry.
“While my Office recognizes that the vast majority of criminality within the situation is attributable to non-state actors, we have also found a reasonable basis to believe that members of the Nigerian Security Forces (“NSF”) have committed the following acts,” added Bensouda. The ICC lists those acts as the same allegations.
The decision comes after a 10-year window in which the ICC deferred to Nigerian authorities in the matter.
“It has always been my conviction that the goals of the Rome Statute are best served by States executing their own primary responsibility to ensure accountability at the national level. I have repeatedly stressed my aspiration for the ability of the Nigerian judicial system to address these alleged crimes,” Bensouda said.
The Amnesty International NGO welcomed the decision, calling it a milestone to ensure investigation into atrocities in Nigeria.
“For the victims of war crimes and potential crimes against humanity to see justice, it’s crucial that the Prosecutor swiftly begin an effective and well-resourced investigation,” said Amnesty’s Netsanet Belay.
Image: ICC file