Shi’ites and IPOB Alledged Killings : ICC Investigates Nigeria For War Crime

The International Criminal Court [ICC] has commenced investigation into the clashes between Nigerian soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria [IMN], otherwise known as Shi’ites, and a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB].

ICC disclosed in the report dated December 5, 2019 that preliminary examination of the situation in Nigeria was announced on November 18, 2010.

The international body stated this in its 2019 edition of the Report of Preliminary Examination Activities issued by the Prosecutor of the organisation, Mrs Fatou Bensouda.’

According to Mrs. Bensouda, the extended preliminary examinations is geared towards ascertaining possibilities of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Nigerian government.

Statement by IMN spokesman had alleged that up to one thousand Shiite members were murdered by military operatives in 2015.

Also, verifiable sources claimed that over 250 IPOB activists were killed by security personnel in separate clashes since 2015.

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

It said that Nigeria was among the countries under Phase 3 examinations by the Office of the Prosecutor.

According to the report, the latest updated “subject-matter assessment” had increased the number of potential cases of crimes against humanity and war crimes involving Nigeria from eight to 10.

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

The issues of the security forces’ clashes with Shi’ites’ and IPOB members as well as communal clashes in Benue, Plateau and other North-Central states and in some parts of the North-East were said to have been thrown up in the latest updated assessment by the ICC Prosecutor.

Both the IMN and the IPOB have been proscribed and designated as terrorist organisations by the Federal Government on the account of the groups’ alleged violent activities.

The ICC report stated in its 2019 report that it had received 15 communications concerning the clashes and communal violence in the North-Central and North-East.

While it said 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 clash with the Army.

The report stated, “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.”

A judicial inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the December 2015 clash between the IMN members and soldiers in the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, concluded that the military killed 347 IMN members in Zaria, Kaduna State, the base of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

IPOB members were also said to have been killed during the September 2017 Operation Python Dance II carried out by the Army to quell the agitation for secession by the South-East group.

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