İrem UZUN -TDO- The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor says a decade-long probe has found enough evidence to merit opening a full-scale investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Boko Haram extremists, as well as by Nigerian government forces battling them in a deadly insurgency. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Friday there is a reasonable basis to believe Boko Haram and splinter groups linked to it committed crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery and torture, as well as intentionally targeting schools and places of worship and using child soldiers.
Bensouda said that it was her conviction that these crimes should be prosecuted under the Nigerian justice system but, while some efforts had been made, they had not pursued the suspects the ICC believed should stand trial. She called for financial support for her office from the Nigerian and ICC-funding parties.
Amnesty International welcomed the announcement and urged the court to swiftly begin an effective and well-resourced investigation. “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’s Director of Research and Advocacy.