SHAFAQNA – IHRC welcomes the news that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice has been asked by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an explanation over a massacre last year in which at least 1000 innocent civilians were killed.
According to media reports Abubakar Malami SAN was due to fly out today to the Hague to explain the part played by the military in the unprovoked attack against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
The military assault between December 12-14 in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria left more than 1000 people dead and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its members destroyed.
A judicial commission of inquiry into the massacre last July recommended earlier this that the general behind the savage attack be prosecuted. The panel’s report which has yet to be made public is believed to accuse the General Officer commanding the Nigerian Army’s 1st Division, Adeniyi Oyebade of orchestrating the military operation outside the chain of command.
In March this year IHRC called on the International Criminal Court to open a preliminary enquiry into the Zaria massacre.
The report contained evidence suggesting that the army’s assault was systematic and pre-planned, and targeted against its leadership in an attempt to cripple the IMN whose popularity has mushroomed in recent years.
During the violence soldiers used automatic weapons, explosives and armoured vehicles against unarmed civilians. This, along with the destruction of places of worship, graves and other buildings associated with the IMN, supports the contention that the attack was aimed at fatally damaging or eliminating the IMN.
Despite the complaint to the ICC, state violence against the IMN has continued with state authorities in Kaduna banning the movement and Nigerian security forces arresting and killing its unarmed supporters.
The leader of the IMN, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, remains imprisoned without charge along with his wife Zeenah.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “We urge the ICC and the international community to do their utmost to stop the ongoing massacres of innocent men, women and children in a premeditated campaign of persecution that seems to be sanctioned at the highest levels of Nigerian government.”