Jubilee Campaign and the Christian Association of Nigerian Americans (CANAN) welcome the status report just released by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor on their preliminary investigation on Nigeria. We especially applaud the clear recognition of the pernicious role the “Salafi-jihadist” group Boko Haram has played in the violence, which has wracked Nigeria over the past few years.
The report should be an encouragement to the thousands of families traumatized by Boko Haram’s activities, which have claimed an estimated 3,000 lives in the last three years and imperiled the hopes of Africa’s largest country.
The ICC’s Prosecutor clearly found that Boko Haram has “attacked religious clerics, Christians, political leaders, Muslims opposing the group, members of the police and security forces, “westerners”, journalists, as well as UN personnel. The group has also been accused of committing several large- scale bombing attacks against civilian objects, including deliberate attacks against Christian churches and primary schools.”
The ICC’s Prosecutor concluded that these attacks, along with Boko Haram’s calls for genocide, amount to crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute, i.e. “(i) murder under article 7(1)(a) and (ii) persecution under article 7(1)(h) of the Statute.”
As we approach the 9th year of Boko Haram’s violent attacks, which began on Christmas Eve 2003, we hope that this report will galvanize the global community to work together to bring a speedy end to the violence.
We commend the current Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, for personally traveling to Nigeria and making a strenuous effort to bring clarity to the situation. We appreciate the efforts to more robustly engage with human rights groups, fact finders, and members of civil society.
We call on all people of good will in Nigeria to set aside their differences, including the past grievances stemming from sectarian violence, and rally around the common threat of terrorism.
We call on the relevant state and federal actors to fully investigate and effectively prosecute all acts of terror and sectarian violence, as such prosecutions are a necessary part of building true peace between communities.
We call on the international community, including the United States, to formally designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization and implement necessary sanctions and protocols to bring a swift end to the murder and persecution on this massive scale, which the ICC now recognizes as amounting to crimes against humanity.
We call on the ICC to move promptly to the 3rd phase of its preliminary examination. As the phase 3 process evaluates the viability of national attempts to prosecute Boko Haram, Nigerian authorities should fully cooperate and make all reports and past investigations available to the ICC.
Finally we remember the victims of Boko Haram from Nigeria, Norway, Kenya, India, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, China, Cameroon, and Mali and assure them that humanity will hold their killers accountable–they are not forgotten.