Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has commenced investigation into the incessant attacks on diverse farming communities across the country by armed Fulani herdsmen, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has revealed.
A statement issued wednesday in Abuja by the National Coordinator of the group, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said ICC disclosed this through a letter it sent to the group from The Hague, The Netherlands.
The letter signed by the Head of Information and Evidence Unit, Office of the Prosecutor, ICC, Mark .P. Dillon, and dated August 15, 2017 was sequel to the earlier petition the rights group sent to ICC demanding action to prosecute sponsors of the armed Fulani attacks.
HURIWA said it had invited ICC in a letter of petition dated September 15, 2016 to investigate the widespread killings going on in Nigeria especially by armed Fulani herdsmen and to take action to bring the perpetrators to international justice since the current Nigerian government was doing nothing to address these issues radically in compliance with the Nigerian laws.
Onwubiko however, noted that ICC revealed that a similar petition that had been filed and that the matter was already undergoing preliminary examination by the office of the chief prosecutor.
The ICC letter addressed to HURIWA according to him, stated thus: â€œOn behalf of the prosecutor, I thank you for your communication received on 15 /09/2016, as well as any subsequent related information.â€
â€œIt appears that your communication relates to a situation already under preliminary examination by the office of the prosecutor. Accordingly, your communication will be analysed in this context, with the assistance of other related communications and other available information.
â€œUnder Article 53 of the Rome Statue, the prosecutor must consider whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within jurisdiction of the court have been committed, the gravity of the crimes, whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting give the relevant crimes, and the interest of justice. Analysis will be carried out as possible, but please be aware that meaningful analysis of these factors can take some time.
â€œAs soon as a decision is taken on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, we will advise you promptly and we will promptly reasons for the decision.
â€œWe thank you for your interest in the ICC. If you would like to learn more about the ICC, please consult our website at www.icc-cpi.int. If you would like to learn more about how the Office carries out analysis of information, please see our policy paper on preliminary examinations, on the office webpage at the website above.â€