For weeks, crowds of peaceful protesters gathered in streets in major towns of Nigeria to demonstrate against police brutality, leading to a crackdown.
(The African Stand) — A statement from the office of The International Criminal Court (ICC) said it had received information on alleged crimes and brutalities in the West African country and therefore started into the allegation.
The statement indicated that examination will “assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met.”
The #EndSARS protest was a peaceful one where Nigerian youths gathered in streets and major towns across the country and demonstrated against police brutality leading to a crackdown.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari said 51 civilians, 11 police officers, and seven soldiers died during the protest.
According to the Human rights group, Amnesty International, security forces opened fire on protesters, killing and injuring a number of people. The police and the army have both denied Amnesty’s allegation.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project petition ICC
The Deputy Director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), petitioned ICC’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda asking her to “promptly investigate reports that Nigerian authorities, military, and some politicians have used/ and are using thugs, soldiers and security agents to intimidate, harass, attack and kill #EndSARS peaceful protesters in several parts of Nigeria, including Abuja, Lagos, Edo, Osun, Plateau, and Kano states.”
The petition dated October 21, 2020, was signed by Kolawole Oluwadare. He urged the Court’s prosecutor to “push for those suspected to be responsible for these crimes, mostly security officials, soldiers, some politicians and other actors who directly or indirectly have individually and/or collectively contributed to the attacks, deaths, and injuries, and are therefore complicit in the crimes, to be tried by the ICC.”
“The Nigerian authorities over the years have been unwilling and/or unable to prosecute suspected perpetrators of the killing of protesters, which in turn has promoted a culture of impunity and emboldened authorities, the military, politicians and their accomplices who continue to commit human rights crimes against protesters,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government is yet to comment on this development.