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ICC Begin War Crime Probes On Army, IPOB, Shi’ite, Clashes

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The International Criminal Court has stated it has extended its preliminary examinations on potential war crimes and crimes towards humanity in Nigeria to cover the clashes between Nigerian soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a body of Shi’ite Muslims within the nation.

The ICC can also be extending the probing to the clashes between the Nigerian soldiers and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The ICC made this public through the Prosecutor’s office, Mrs Fatou Bensouda in its  2019 edition of the annual Report of Preliminary Examination Activities.

The report dated December 5, 2019 indicated that preliminary examination of the state of affairs in Nigeria was announced on November 18, 2010.

It noted that  the Office of the ICC Prosecutor on November 12, 2015 “identified eight potential cases involving the commission of crimes towards humanity and war crimes under articles 7 and 8” of the Rome Statutes.

The report,  which said that Nigeria was among the many nations under Phase three examinations by the Office of the Prosecutor, added that its newest up to date “subject-matter assessment” had elevated the variety of potential cases involving Nigeria from eight to 10.

Of the 10 cases now under the ICC preliminary examination, seven of them have been stated to be for Boko Haram and three for the Nigerian security forces.

The problems of the safety forces’ clashes with Shi’ites’ and IPOB members as well as communal clashes in Plateau, and other North-Central states and in some components of the North-East have been stated to have been thrown up within the latest up to date evaluation by the ICC Prosecutor.

Both the IPOB and IMN were proscribed and designated as terrorist entities by the Nigeria Federal Government on the account of the groups’ alleged violent activities.

A judicial inquiry arranged by the Kaduna State Authorities to analyze the December 2015 conflict between the IMN members and soldiers in the convoy of Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, concluded that the military killed 347 IMN members in Zaria, Kaduna State, the base of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the group leader,

A number of IPOB members have been also said to have been killed throughout the September 2017 Operation Python Dance II  carried out by the Military to quell the agitation for secession  by the secessionist group.

A soldier was stated to have been killed throughout the IMN members’ conflict with the Military in 2015 and IPOB members have been also alleged to have killed some members of the security forces on completely different events.

The ICC  report said in its 2019 report that it  had obtained 15 communications regarding the clashes and communal violence within the North-Central and North-East.

While it mentioned it had been reviewing the allegations, it expressed concern about allegations of “ongoing evidence tampering and of alleged destruction of evidence” in respect of the IMN members conflict with the Military.

The report said, “During the reporting period, the office worked on finalising its assessment on subject-matter jurisdiction with respect to the events which took place in December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State, when members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria reportedly clashed with the NSF (Nigerian security forces.

Other allegations that the office has been reviewing include allegations with respect to the conduct of the NSF against members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and communal violence in Nigeria’s North-Central and North-East.”

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