International Criminal Court Urged to Prevent Nigerian Authorities Exhuming Massacre Victims from Mass Graves

From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

1 December 2017

PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: International Criminal Court urged to prevent Nigerian authorities exhuming massacre victims from mass graves

IHRC has written to the International Criminal Court urging it to take immediate action to prevent the possible relocation of bodies buried in mass graves by the army following a bloody attack on supporters of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in 2015.

The letter follows reports from the ground that the armed forces are preparing to exhume approximately 1000 bodies in a bid to destroy evidence from the massacre.

The mass graves are all located around Zaria where the December 2015 massacre took place.

The letter says: “It is imperative that any exhumation does not go ahead under the authority of the Nigerian government or army, as vital evidence will be removed or destroyed. The victims’ bodies should be exhumed under the supervision of an international organisation, like the ICC, so that evidence can be preserved and the victims’ bodies returned to their families.

If steps are not taken immediately to secure the mass graves so as to preserve evidence, the perpetrators of the 2015 attack will be able to evade accountability and responsibility for their crimes.”

IHRC petitioned the ICC in March 2016 to open an investigation into the massacre in which thousands of civilians were brutally shot, hacked, burnt or beaten to death by soldiers in a pre-planned attack against the IMN, a popular opposition movement headed by Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.

For media enquiries or further details please call +44 20 8904 4222 or +44 7958 522196 or +44 7426 728074[Ends]

Notes to editors:

The letter can be read in full here

In March 2016 IHRC petitioned the International Criminal Court to to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre of IMN members.

Our report which we submitted to the ICC can be found here