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ICC seeks probe of pupils’ abduction in Nigeria

By Silver Nwokoro
25 October 2021   |   3:05 am
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Karim Khan (QC), is seeking authorisation from the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber to open investigation into the abduction of schoolchildren

The International Criminal Court in The Hague | File photo: Reuters

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Karim Khan (QC), is seeking authorisation from the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber to open investigation into the abduction of school children in parts of Northern Nigeria.

Khan will also probe the closure of schools, and the persistent failure of Nigerian authorities at the federal and state levels to end the menace.

The ICC prosecutor’s decision followed a petition sent to the court by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), which disclosed this yesterday in a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP had, in the petition dated September 4, 2021, urged the ICC prosecutor to push for those suspected to be complicit in the crimes to be tried by the ICC.

In the petition, SERAP argued that the severe and lifelong harms that result from depriving children of the right to education satisfied the gravity of harm threshold under the Rome Statute.

Responding to SERAP, the ICC prosecutor, in a letter with reference number OTP-CR-363/21, and dated October 22, 2021, confirmed to the organisation that the criteria for opening an investigation into a string of abductions and closure of schools in some parts of Nigeria had been met.

The letter signed on behalf of the prosecutor by the Head of the Information and Evidence Unit, Mark Dillon, reads: “On behalf of the Prosecutor, I thank you for your communication received on September 9, 2021, as well as any subsequent related information.

“The preliminary examination of the petition is considered complete. Under Article 53 of the Rome Statute, the next step in the judicial process is for the Prosecutor’s Office to prepare and submit a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber for authorisation to open an investigation on Nigeria. Once submitted, the request will be made public on the court’s website: www.icccpi.int.”