The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced its readiness to investigate members of the Nigerian Security Forces and Boko Haram insurgents for war crimes, rape, murder and several other criminal offences.
The ICC said it has found a reasonable basis to believe that members of the security forces and the insurgents committed the charges preferred against them.
Fatou Bensouda, the ICC Prosecutor disclosed this in a statement on Friday, December 11, 2020.
In the statement, Besouda alleged that the insurgents and members of the Nigerian Security Forces engaged in conscripting and enlisting children under the ages of 15 into the armed forces and used them to participate actively in hostilities; persecution on gender and political grounds.
The statement reads in part, “While my Office recognises 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 constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes: murder, rape, torture, and cruel treatment; enforced disappearance; forcible transfer of population; outrages upon personal dignity; intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such and against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities; unlawful imprisonment; conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces and using them to participate actively in hostilities; persecution on gender and political grounds; and other inhumane acts”.
This is coming five days after Amnesty International said that the military and the insurgents have killed many aged citizens at disproportionate levels due to their inability to flee attacks.
The ICC charge arrives two months after armed soldiers shot into a crowd of peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, during nationwide sit-ins demanding for an end to decades of police brutality and extra-judicial killings.