The International Criminal Court (ICC), has began the process of investigating human rights abuses by perpetuated the Nigerian military. The court will also investigate abuses by the Boko Haram terror group whose activities have caused the death of about 20,000 people in Nigeria since 2009.
The Nigerian military has been accused of extra-judicial killings as well as unjustified and inhumane incarceration by local and international groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Currently, there are eight case files opened against Nigeria by the Netherlands-based court. Two of which were committed by the Nigerian Armed Forces.
A delegation from the office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, the ICC Prosecutor, has already arrived the country to begin preliminary investigation into the cases.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Wednesday, expressed commitment to uphold the highest standards of human rights in the conduct of all international affairs, including counter-insurgency operations in the country. Nigeria’s Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this when he received a delegation from the office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, the ICC Prosecutor.
The Minister assured the delegation that Nigeria had high value for its relationship with the ICC, he also insisted that the Nigerian Army had conducted its operations in the North East of the country in a highly professional manner, imbibing best practices in the areas of international human rights.
The Minister also insisted that Nigeria had sovereign rights to handle alleged crimes referred to in the prosecutor’s 2015 report of activities in the country. He said:
“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report and will therefore continue present efforts in the above direction.”
The leader of the delegation, Phakiso Choko, in response assured the minister that the prosecutor did not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment. Adding that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations were unable to resolve through internal mechanism.