Aug 25, 2014


“War crime” and "crimes against humanity" ever heard that before?
Sounds like a phrase out of the Black Diamond movie with Di’caprio or something that pops up when you talk about people like Charles Taylor and Saddam Hussein. Don’t laugh anyway, because War Crimes are very serious allegations as they usually have to do with killing and dishing out inhuman treatment to others. Why do you think the world had to set up a court to try war crimes, trust me, it’s a big deal. 

That’s why on 17 July 1998, a conference of 160 States established the first treaty-based permanent international criminal court. The treaty adopted during that conference is known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Among other things, it sets out the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC, the rules of procedure and the mechanisms for States to cooperate with the ICC. The countries which have accepted these rules are known as States Parties and are represented in the Assembly of States Parties.
The Assembly of States Parties, which meets at least once a year, sets the general policies for the administration of the Court and reviews its activities. During those meetings, the States Parties review the activities of the working groups established by the States and any other issues relevant to the ICC, discuss new projects and adopt the ICC’s annual budget.

According to the International Criminal Court (ICC) , war crimes  include grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict and in conflicts "not of an international character" listed in the Rome Statute, when they are committed as part of a plan or policy or on a large scale. These prohibited acts include:
  • murder;
  • mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
  • taking of hostages;
  • intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population;
  • intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historical monuments or hospitals;
  • pillaging;
  • rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy or any other form of sexual violence;
  • conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities.
On the other hand, “Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
  • murder;
  • extermination;
  • enslavement;
  • deportation or forcible transfer of population;
  • imprisonment;
  • torture;
  • rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
  • persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds;
  • enforced disappearance of persons;
  • the crime of apartheid;
  • other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.
Examples include the Novi Sad massacre, where 4,211 civilians (2,842 Serbs, 1,250 Jews, 64 Roma, 31 Rusyns, 13 Russians and 11 ethnic Hungarians) rounded up and killed by Hungarian troops in reprisal for resistance activities. The Mahmudiyah killings during the Iraq war involving the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl and the murder of her family by U.S. troops.
In Uganda, the case of  The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen is currently being heard before Pre-Trial Chamber II. In this case, five warrants of arrest have been issued against [the] five top members of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).  Following the confirmation of the death of Mr Lukwiya, the proceedings against him have been terminated. The four remaining suspects are still at large.

Joseph Kony
So can Shekarau (Boko Haram Oga at the Top), be prosecuted at the ICC? Yes, he can because looking at the above list by the ICC, I think the Boko Haram sect have done it all. They have murdered civilians, destroyed schools and churches, taking hostages and pillaging just to mention a few of their crimes. Not to exclude, their savage attacks on military and police personnel. 
Heads of Governments can also be prosecuted at the ICC, remember former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, who was found guilty of 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international law and sentenced to 50 years in prison. 
Currently, the Office of the Prosecutor is currently conducting investigations on crimes allegedly committed in eight states: Sudan (for the situation in Darfur), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
In addition, the Office of the Prosecutor is currently conducting preliminary analysis in eight situations: Afghanistan, Colombia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Nigeria and Palestine.
P:s - If you have ever participated in any activity that can be classified as a crime against humanity, please include your full name and other contact details so we can tell the police to come get you. Thanks 
Adedunmade Onibokun