On Monday 21st March, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, IHRC announced that it had formally reported the Nigerian government to the International Criminal Court at the Hague for crimes against humanity in the events of the Zaria massacre of December 2015 that left no less than 1000 Muslims dead, detained or missing.
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
The full 83 page document that charged the court to investigate Nigeria’s Army Chief, General T. Y Buratai, the Kaduna State governor Nasir el-Rufai, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and several other politicians and named soldiers.
The document presented 216 names of victims, most being youth, and the locations where they were killed, be it in Hussainiyyah, Gyellesu, Kaduna, Dogarawa or Darul Rahma. It also had a list of 219 in detention and 480 missing names with where they disappeared from.
The named politicians requested to be investigated include:
1. Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai
2. Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman
3. GOC 1 Div Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade
4. Commander Nigerian Depot
5. Chief of Defence Staff
6. Director Military Intelligence
7. Chief of Defence intelligence – AVM Riku Morgan
8. Col. AK Ibrahim – Commander 1 Div Garrison, Nigerian Army, Kaduna
9. Lt. Col. FM Babayo (Promoted after the operation to Col – 1 Div Kaduna)
10. Capt Ben – Adjutant Depot, Nigerian Army
11. Maj. Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade – General Officer Commanding, 1 Div Garrison
Kaduna – He received orders for the whole operation from Kaduna State
Governor Malam Ahmad Elrufa’i
12. Brig Gen CG Musa – Commander Depot, Nig Army
13. An unnamed officer – Who was the intelligence officer Nigerian Army
1. Governor Kaduna State – Malam Nasir ElRufai
2. Emir of Zaria – Alh Shehu Idris
3. President Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
4. Emir of Kano – Muhammadu Sanusi II
5. Professor Umar Labdo
6. Sambo Yusuf Rigachukun
7. Bala Lau
8. Yahaya Jingir
9. Kabir Gombi
IHRW- The Nigerian army carried out massive attacks over the course of the 12th and 13th December 2015 which targeted the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria.
The operation resulted in the deaths of at least 1000 unarmed civilians, mostly IMN members, killed by gunshots attributed to soldiers. Hundreds more were injured. There were reports that the military blocked access to medical care for the injured and shot at and killed wounded persons. Witnesses and victims reported signs of widespread force and cruelty with allegations of looting, arson, mutilation, mass graves, torture, rape and other inhumane acts levelled at the Nigerian army.
The supporting materials and eyewitness accounts further indicate that such massive acts of violence were carried out in the context of a widespread and systematic attack against the Nigerian civilian population. The violence unleashed on members of the IMN has a history and it is a history of premeditation. There is also sufficient evidence to suggest an official plan by Nigerian government officials to cover up these crimes and indeed perpetuate the same.
IHRC is of the view that there are reasonable grounds to believe these crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the court in accordance with the Rome Statute. The crimes of the Nigerian army meet all the relevant criteria to warrant further investigation by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
In view if the above, IHRC calls on the Prosecutor to open a preliminary investigation proprio motu on the incidents reported.
This IHRC communication aims to provide a solid understanding of the events and crimes committed by the Nigerian Army, and it is based on eyewitness accounts and other supporting materials. The second part focuses on the legal parameters against which crimes against humanity are assessed, in respect of articles 7, 12, 13, 15, 17, 53 of the Rome Statute.