Amnesty International revealed that due to a significant increase of necessary evidence, they will be able to probe several suspected Nigerian military officers for war crimes in the battle against Boko Haram.
Amnesty in a 133 page report published on June 3, 2015, stated they had a case against five senior officers with citations from hundreds of interviews, including with military sources and leaked defence ministry documents.
Amnesty claims that the military had exterminated thousands of people with the help of the civilian vigilante allies, well-known as the Civilian JTF.
“In the course of security operations against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria, Nigerian military forces have extrajudicially executed more than 1,200 people; they have arbitrarily arrested at least 20,000 people, mostly young men and boys,” the report said.
Nigerian forces “have committed countless acts of torture; hundreds, if not thousands, of Nigerians have become victims of enforced disappearance; and at least 7,000 people have died in military detention as a result of starvation, extreme overcrowding and denial of medical assistance,” it added.
They want commanders based in the northeast “should be investigated for potential responsibility for war crimes of murder, enforced disappearances and torture”. Top service chiefs in the capital Abuja “should be investigated for their potential command responsibility for crimes committed by their subordinates given that they knew or should have known about the commission of the crimes, and failed to take adequate action.”
Amnesty went further and called on the nation to ensure prompt, independent and effective investigations of the following high-level military commanders for their potential command responsibility for crimes committed by their subordinates:
* General Azubuike Ihejirika - Chief of Army Staff, Sept 2010 - Jan 2014).
* Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim - Chief of Defence Staff, Oct 2012 - Jan 2014).
* Air Chief Marshal Badeh - Chief of Defence Staff, Jan 2014 - time of writing.
* General Ken Minimah - Chief of Army Staff, Jan 2014 - time of writing.
Amnesty wrote: "They would be responsible if they knew or if they should have known about the commission of the war crimes and failed to take adequate action to prevent them or to ensure the alleged perpetrators are brought to justice."
The International Criminal Court based in Hague has previously said there was insufficient evidence tying Nigeria’s military to systematic and orchestrated atrocities targeting civilians.
Amnesty International further claims: "Nigerian military have arrested at least 20,000 young men and boys since 2009, some as young as nine years old. In most cases they were arbitrarily arrested, often based solely on the word of a single unidentified secret informant. Most were arrested in mass “screening” operations or “cordon-and-search” raids where security forces round up hundreds of men. Almost none of those detained have been brought to court and all have been held without the necessary safeguards against murder, torture and ill-treatment."
Study the full report below:
Amnesty had also pressured a former president, Goodluck Jonathan, to try all military heads suspected, but the new president, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29, Friday, promised to improve “operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.”