Islamists could face war crimes charges

2013-05-17 20:18
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists could face charges of crimes against humanity, the UN's human rights office warned on Friday, also urging the government to ensure civilians are not swept up in an army counter-offensive.

"Members of Boko Haram and other groups and entities, if judged to have committed widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population - including on grounds such as religion or ethnicity - could be found guilty of crimes against humanity," said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Deliberate acts leading to population 'cleansing' on grounds of religion or ethnicity could also amount to a crime against humanity," he told journalists.

Nigeria's military has launched an offensive against Boko Haram strongholds, after President Goodluck Jonathan imposed a state of emergency in three north-eastern states following the Islamists' seizure of territory and declaration of war on the government.

‘Cowardly attacks’

Colville underlined that UN rights chief Navi Pillay had repeatedly slammed the "cowardly attacks" by Boko Haram against civilians, politicians, the security forces and foreign nationals.

But with Nigeria's military accused of massive rights violations in the past, including indiscriminate attacks on the ordinary population, there are warnings of a risk of high number of civilian deaths.

"We also call on the Nigerian government to make sure its efforts to achieve security are in full compliance with human rights principles," said Colville.

"We urge security forces and the military to respect human rights, and avoid excessive use of force when conducting operations, as these can all too easily feed local resentment, especially when civilians are killed or have their property damaged," he added.

Boko Haram has become notorious for blending in with the local population, both in towns and major cities where they have carried out suicide bombings as well as gun and bomb assaults.

The conflict is estimated to have cost 3 600 lives since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

Read more on:    un  |  boko haram  |  goodluck jonathan  |  navi pillay  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.