The Nigerian army carried out massive attacks over the course of 12 and 13 December 2015 which targeted the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria.
The operation resulted in the deaths of at least 1000 unarmed civilians, mostly IMN members, killed by gunshots attributed to soldiers. Hundreds more were injured. There were reports that the military blocked access to medical care for the injured and shot at and killed wounded persons. Witnesses and victims reported signs of widespread force and cruelty with allegations of looting, arson, mutilation, mass graves, torture, rape and other inhumane acts levelled at the
The supporting materials and eyewitness accounts further indicate that such massive acts of violence were carried out in the context of a widespread and systematic attack against the Nigerian civilian population. The violence unleashed on members of the IMN has a history and it is a history of premeditation.
There is also sufficient evidence to suggest an official plan by Nigerian government officials to cover up these crimes and indeed perpetuate the same.
IHRC is of the view that there are reasonable grounds to believe these crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the court in accordance with the Rome Statute. The crimes of the Nigerian army meet all the relevant criteria to warrant further investigation by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
In view of the above, IHRC calls on the Prosecutor to open a preliminary
investigation proprio motu on the incidents reported.
This IHRC communication aims to provide a solid understanding of the events and crimes committed by the Nigerian Army, and it is based on eyewitness accounts and other supporting materials. The second part focuses on the legal parameters against which crimes against humanity are assessed, in respect of
articles 7, 12, 13, 15, 17 and 53 of the Rome Statute.
Based on the evidence collected so far, IHRC firmly believes that:
1. The crimes committed between 12 and 14 December 2015 in Zaria,
Kaduna State, by the Nigerian army amount to crimes against humanity.
2. The crimes committed by the Nigerian army meet all the necessary legal requirements to warrant a preliminary investigation by the ICC prosecutor.
Based on these grounds, IHRC therefore recommends the following:
1. The ICC prosecutor should open a preliminary examination into the
incidents that occurred between 12 and 14 December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State.
2. IHRC demands the Prosecutor expand its monitoring activities on Nigeria and the army’s involvement in attacks against the IMN that occurred in the period between 2014 and 2015. Indeed, Nigeria is already under preliminary investigation by the Prosecutor in relation to Boko Haram.
3. IHRC calls on the ICC Prosecutor to issue a preventive statement saying
that he is monitoring the Nigerian crisis and is aware of the commission of crimes and warn the perpetrators about their criminal liability
To be continued