The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to seek authorisation from the Pre-Trial Chamber of the court to open an investigation into cases of abduction of schoolchildren in Northern Nigeria.
The prosecutor will also probe closure of schools, and the persistent failure of Nigerian authorities at both the federal and state levels to end the abduction.
The ICC prosecutor’s decision followed a petition sent to the court by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
This development was disclosed today in a statement by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
SERAP had in the petition dated 4 September 2021 urged the ICC prosecutor, Mr Karim A. A. Khan, QC, to “push for those suspected to be responsible and complicit in the commission of these serious crimes, to be invited and tried by the ICC.”
In the petition, SERAP argued that, “The severe and lifelong harms that result from depriving children the right to education satisfy the gravity of harm threshold under the Rome Statute.”
In a reply dated 22 October, the ICC prosecutor confirmed to SERAP that “the criteria for opening an investigation into a string of abductions and closure of schools in some parts of Nigeria have been met.”