Lagos – Human Rights Watch (HRW) demanded investigations into the crimes committed by Boko Haram amid plans by the government to grant them amnesty.
“Boko Haram members have committed heinous crimes,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, in a letter to the committee set up by the Nigerian government to develop an amnesty framework for members of Boko Haram.
“Justice for the gravest abuses, whether by Boko Haram or security forces, is essential for victims and building long-term peace in Nigeria.”
HRW said instead the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North should demand accountability for these crimes.
Boko Haram has carried out a brutal campaign of violence across northern Nigeria.
An HRW report in October 2012 found that Boko Haram’s attacks, including the murder of civilians and the persecution of Christians, amounted to crimes against humanity under international law.
HRW has also documented serious human rights abuses carried out by government security forces in response to Boko Haram attacks, including dozens of extrajudicial killings, burning of civilian property, and detention-related abuses.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced in 2010 that it had opened a preliminary examination of the situation in Nigeria.
In November 2012 the office concluded that there was reasonable basis to believe Boko Haram had committed crimes against humanity. The preliminary examination may or may not lead to an ICC investigation.
The ICC, of which Nigeria is a member, has the authority to intervene when the domestic authorities are unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute serious crimes in violation of international law.
- CAJ News