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Group Asks ICC To Prosecute Alleged Boko Haram Sponsors

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked Ms Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) to use her office and position to urgently investigate allegations that certain high ranking public officials and politicians are among the sponsors of Boko Haram that has continued to engage in unlawful killings and destruction of civil property, and cases of extra-judicial executions in the country.

The organization also asked the court to bring to justice anyone complicit in these international crimes prohibited under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which Nigeria is a state party.

In the petition dated 1 September, 2014 and signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the body said that, “We are seriously concerned that so far those who are responsible for the grave violations of international law have not been identified let alone prosecuted. Worryingly, government’s initiated probes with recommendations on those that may be behind the Boko Haram attacks have not yet been implemented.”

“A government committee in 2011 recommended the prosecution of some politicians for funding and providing general support to Boko Haram. This recommendation remains unimplemented as the government White Paper on it published in 2012 has been ignored,” the organization said.

The organization said that, “a Perth-based international adviser to Nigeria, Dr. Stephen Davis, who for four months was involved in negotiations on behalf of the federal government with commanders of Boko Haram for the release of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the sect last April, has named certain high ranking public officials as sponsors of Boko Haram. Among others Dr Davis disclosed that a former governor of Borno state, a former chief of army staff and a former top official of the Central Bank of Nigeria have provided funds and other logistics to Boko Haram to commit crimes under international law.”

It added that, “We remain concerned that given the antecedents of successive governments to ignore reports and recommendations of national agencies and institutions in situations like this, we are convinced that intervention by the ICC will bring international pressure to bear on the government to honour its international obligations by promptly identifying and bringing to justice those sponsoring and providing support for the Boko Haram attacks.”

The said its request for the intervention by the ICC was further buttressed by increasing level of cases of extra-judicial execution that continued to take place in the country, saying that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN) revealed at a public event marking the Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012 that the Police alone had killed 7,108 persons in four years.”

“Additionally, given the weak criminal justice system and the fact that successive governments have shown themselves either unwilling or unable to prosecute suspected perpetrators of international crimes in places like Jos (Plateau State of Nigeria), the intervention by the ICC will ensure that the truth is told about those sponsoring the Boko Haram attacks, and provide the much needed international accountability and ensure effective remedies for victims and their families,” the organization also said.

The organization pointed out that, “Without accountability for these serious human rights crimes, the victims will continue to be denied access to justice, and impunity of perpetrators will remain widespread and the result will continue to be a vicious cycle of violence and abuses with serious consequences for the entire citizenry.”

It said that, “Under Article 17 of the Rome Statute, the Court is a court of last resort, expected to exercise its jurisdiction only if states themselves are unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate and prosecute international crimes. Also, pursuant to the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor has power to intervene in a situation under the jurisdiction of the Court if the Security Council or states parties refer a situation or if information is provided from other sources such as the information SERAP is providing in this case.”


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