Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s research and advocacy director, says investigating the crimes committed against humanity during the conflict between Boko Haram insurgents and security forces is “now inevitable”.
Belay was reacting to the 2019 reports on preliminary examination carried out by the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) on countries where crimes may have been committed to decide whether to open an investigation or not.
He said Nigeria had shown that it is unwilling to prosecute those involved in the crimes against humanity perpetrated during the conflict.
“An ICC investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in north-east, Nigeria, is now inevitable. The prosecutor has confirmed yet again that the Nigerian government is not taking steps to deliver justice,” she said.
“The prosecutor has also confirmed that she will make a final decision in 2020 on whether to proceed to investigate specific crimes. Should Nigerian authorities fail to demonstrate tangible steps to fulfil their obligations, she will be bound to proceed towards a full investigation.
“Victims have been waiting for justice for over 10 years. Nigeria has already demonstrated that it is not willing to investigate and prosecute those responsible for heinous crimes committed by all parties to the conflict in the north-east.
“The ICC should have already launched an investigation but there can be no doubt that the time will come in 2020 for the ICC to step up to its role as the court of last resort.
“States parties to the Rome Statue must step up to provide the necessary resources to the Court and reiterate cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor to enable such an investigation into the situation in Nigeria.”
In 2010, the ICC had opened a preliminary examination into the conflict between the insurgents and the Nigerian security agents.
In December 2018, the AI released a report on the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law allegedly committed on both sides.
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