Thursday, April 14, 2016 12:31 pm
Eight cases of human rights abuses are pending against Nigeria at the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
A delegation from the office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague was in Abuja on Wednesday in connection with the cases. The delegation intended to investigate them as part of the assessment of the Nigerian situation.
Six of the alleged cases were committed by the Boko Haram sect while the remaining two are by the Nigerian Armed Forces.
It was not clear whether a recent filing by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria alleging the genocide of Nigeria’s military against its defenceless members, was among.
Minister of Justice and attorney-general, Abubakar Malami during a meeting with the ICC delegation, expressed the Nigerian government’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of human rights, including during counter insurgency operations in the country.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, the minister assured the delegation that Nigeria had high value for its relationship with the ICC.
Malami said that the Nigerian Army has conducted its operations in the North East region of the country in a highly professional manner, imbibing best practices in the areas of international human rights.
He also said that he was aware of the eight case files against Nigeria.
He insisted that Nigeria had the prerogative rights in handling the alleged crimes referred to in the prosecutor’s 2015 report of activities in the country.
“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report and will therefore continue present efforts in the above direction.’’
He however solicited the support and understanding of ICC and the international community especially in regards to the conduct of the affairs of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Responding, the leader of delegation, Mr. Phakiso Choko, said that the prosecutor did not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment.
He said that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations were unable to resolve through internal mechanism.
The prosecutor, through the delegation expressed support and willingness to work with Nigeria in addressing all identified crimes and criminality against humanity.