International Criminal Court opens investigation into #EndSARS protest
The International Criminal Court (ICC) said it is conducting a preliminary examination into the recent #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria.
BBC reports that the office of the ICC prosecutor in a statement said it had received information on alleged crimes.
The examination, ICC said, will “assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met.”
For two weeks thousands of peaceful protesters gathered in streets in major cities in Nigeria to protest against harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killings by police.
The peaceful protests in Lagos later became bloody after soldiers fired live ammunition on #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos, on October 20, according to eyewitnesses. But the army denied that its personnel shot on the day.
The protest hijacked by hoodlums who looted and damaged public and private properties.
President Muhammadu Buhari said 51 civilians, 11 police officers and seven soldiers were killed in the violence that trailed the Lekki shooting.
Amnesty International said it has proofs that the shooting and killing of unarmed protesters were done by state security forces. It accused the military of plotting to cover up the killings.
The inspector general of police Mohammed Adamu said Amnesty International’s claim was not true.
Lagos State Government has set up a panel of enquiry to take complaints from victims of police brutality and also investigate the shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza. ICC, however, said it is concerned after following events from the nationwide demonstrations closely.
“My office has been closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria and the reaction of Nigeria’s law enforcement and security agencies,” ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda tweeted in October.
Bensouda said the ICC investigation will be hinged on if the “Rome Statute crimes may have been committed” during the EndSARS.
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