The International Criminal Court has extended its preliminary examinations on possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Nigeria, over the crimes committed against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, a body of Shiite Muslims in the country and a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB by the Nigerian Security Forces.
The ICCI disclosed this in its 2019 edition of the annual Report of Preliminary Examination Activities issued by the office of its Prosecutor headed by Mrs Fatou Bensouda.
The report dated December 5, 2019, indicated that preliminary examination of the situation in Nigeria was announced on November 18, 2010.
It noted that the Office of the ICC Prosecutor on November 12, 2015 “ identified eight potential cases involving the commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes under articles 7 and 8 ” of the Rome Statutes.
Nigeria was among the countries under Phase 3 examinations by the Office of the Prosecutor, in the updated “subject- matter assessment” the number of potential cases involving Nigeria has been increased from eight to ten.
Of the 10 cases now under the ICC preliminary examination, seven of them were said to be involving the deadly terror group, Boko Haram and three for the Nigerian security forces.
The issues of the security forces’ clashes with the Islamic Movement, Shiites and IPOB members as well as communal clashes in Benue, Plateau, some parts of the North-Central and North-Eastern states were said to have been thrown up in the updated assessment by the ICC Prosecutor.
Both the IMN and the IPOB have been proscribed and designated as terrorist organizations by the Federal Government on the account of the groups’ alleged violent activities.
A judicial inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the December 2015 clash between the IMN members and soldiers in the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, concluded that the military killed 347 IMN members in Zaria, Kaduna State, the base of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El – Zakzaky.
Several dozens of IPOB members were also said to have been killed during the September 2017 Operation Python Dance II carried out by the Army to silence the agitation for secession by the South-East group.
A soldier was said to have been killed during the IMN members’ clash with the Army in 2015 and IPOB members were also alleged to have killed some members of the security forces on different occasions.
Nwada Ugochinyere Onyechere reporting, Obinwannem News