Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, following reports of escalating violence in Nigeria
I am deeply concerned by reports of ongoing large-scale abuses in north-eastern Nigeria. My Office continues to gather information alleging killings of large numbers of civilians, the use of girls and boys to participate in hostilities, and the massive displacement of communities by the armed group commonly referred to as Boko Haram.
The most recent attack on the city of Baga and adjacent villages in early January, as well as the reported use of women and children as suicide bombers in attacks on markets in Maiduguri and Potiskum, on 11 and 12 January, mark a further disturbing escalation in the appalling levels of violence. The intentional targeting of civilians, affecting thousands of women, children and men, cannot be tolerated.
Crimes committed by members of any of the parties to the armed conflict in Nigeria must be thoroughly and impartially investigated and prosecuted. As a State Party to the Rome Statute, Nigeria has committed to ensuring that crimes that deeply shock the conscience of humanity do not go unpunished, and I remind Nigeria of its obligation in this regard.
In this context, I recall that the ICC has jurisdiction over Rome Statute crimes committed on the territory of Nigeria or by Nigerian nationals from 1 July 2002 onwards and continues to conduct a preliminary examination of the situation there. No one should doubt my resolve, if need be, to prosecute those individuals most responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity.