ICC To Investigate Abduction Of Schoolchildren In Nigeria, Says SERAP
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) says Karim Khan, prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has agreed to investigate the cases of abduction of schoolchildren in Nigeria.
On September 16, SERAP petitioned Khan, asking him to investigate the incessant cases of abduction of schoolchildren in northern Nigeria, noting that depriving children their right to education has severe consequences on their ability to access their fundamental rights.
Kidnapping in schools, particularly in the northern region, has become rampant in the country. TheCable had reported that at least 821 students were abducted within the first eight months of 2021.
According to a statement by Kolapo Oluwadare, deputy director of SERAP, the advocacy group received a response to the petition from Mark P. Dillion, head of information and evidence unit, on behalf of the ICC prosecutor.
“The criteria for opening an investigation into a string of abductions and closure of schools in some parts of Nigeria have been met,” the letter from Dillion said.
Oluwadare said investigation will start as soon as the prosecutor gets authorisation from the pre-trial chamber of the court, noting that this is a significant step towards exposing those responsible for grave crimes against Nigerian schoolchildren.
“The severe and lifelong harms that result from depriving children the right to education satisfy the gravity of harm threshold under the Rome Statute,” he said.
“By this decision, the ICC prosecutor has taken a significant step toward ensuring that those suspected to be responsible for grave crimes against Nigerian schoolchildren are exposed, and held to account.
“The victims of these crimes deserve justice. Impartial justice and reparation will deal a decisive blow to impunity of perpetrators, and improve access of Nigerian children to education. SERAP will work closely with the ICC to achieve these important objectives.”