Amnesty International, on Saturday, December 12, implored the International Criminal Court (ICC) to immediately open a full investigation into atrocities committed during the conflict in Northeast Nigeria. The human rights body also lauded the ICC report which said that both the Nigerian military and Boko Haram committed war crimes.
According to Amnesty International, the ICC finding was a milestone decision; which brought its longstanding call for justice for victims a step closer.
The ICC Office of the Prosecutor had announced on Friday that it was concluding a decade-long preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity; and war crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces.
Towards this end, a statement by Media Manager, Amnesty International Nigeria, Isa Sanusi said the ICC’s finding had finally paved the way for a full-blown investigation to begin.
“After years of calling on the ICC Prosecutor to open a full investigation; this is the first meaningful step towards justice that we have seen; for victims of atrocious crimes committed by all parties to the conflict in Northeast Nigeria,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Advocacy
He said: “This is an important milestone; but it must be followed with immediate action to open a full investigation. 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.”
Amnesty International, however, noted that the Office of the Prosecutor faced serious resource constraints; to investigating and prosecuting new situations and cases; but said this must not be used as an excuse to further delay justice.
It said: “States parties to the ICC must ensure the Office of the Prosecutor has the resources needed to conduct its investigations.
“Nigerian authorities still have an obligation to conduct genuine investigations into allegations of war crimes; and crimes against humanity; including by its own military. But to date, they have done everything in their power to avoid independent and effective investigations.”
Amnesty International called on ICC states parties to ensure any investigation in Nigeria is adequately resourced.
The ICC Office of the Prosecutor announced a preliminary examination into the situation in Nigeria on 18 November 2010.
For almost a decade, Amnesty International has repeatedly documented crimes under international law; and other serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Northeast Nigeria.