International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

ICC will try Boko Haram, if necessary

In what appears to be a very brief summary of a report leaked from the office of ICC prosecutor Bensouda, VOA News is reporting that the ICC “Suspects Boko Haram of Crimes Against Humanity.”  Assuming this is true, the ICC will be threatening Nigerian officials with intervention unless the government prosecutes the crimes that have killed thousands of Christians and Muslims.

While it is good news for the international justice front that the ICC is acknowledging these crimes and seems ready to prosecute them, if necessary, they do not yet recognize the government’s role in any killings: “the report said there is no indication that those alleged acts were part of a ‘state or organizational policy to attack the civilian population'”.  Regardless of what authority prosecutes these crimes, the trials will be closely watched for evidence of one-sided justice prevailing, as it has so many times in the past.


One response to “ICC will try Boko Haram, if necessary

  1. gentryj November 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    It is not surprising that this conflict and the atrocities associated with it are attracting the attention of the ICC. The Boko Haram has been involved in numerous attacks on civilians, targeting locations such as churches. In fact, just this past weekend, a church (located in an army base) was car bombed: While the Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility for this attack, and the details of the attack itself are still somewhat unclear, it does bear distinct resemblance to past attacks that they have claimed. Ironically, this particular attack may have been aggravated by recent government attempts to combat the Boko Haram. Notably, the military recently issued a wanted list of the Boko Haram leaders and placed a bounty on the group’s leader. So, for the ICC to be calling on the Nigerian government to prosecute or they will intervene seems needless, as the Nigerian government would gladly put an end to the group if they could.

    However, the ICC should be placing more pressure on the Nigerian government to ensure that the military and government forces abide by human rights laws themselves. As I previously mentioned in a post, there have been reports of human rights abuses on the side of the Nigerian government including summary executions and illegal imprisonments. For details see: So, while the Boko Haram is certainly culpable, a blind eye should not be turned to the actions of the NIgerian state. Likely, the ICC isn’t pressing the issue of Nigerian violations in order to keep the door open for state assistance, should the ICC end up seeking to prosecute the Boko Haram. However, ultimately, justice needs to be served on all sides, regardless of how unpopular it makes the ICC.

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