The International Criminal Court (ICC), a body charged with the responsibility of investigating and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, has announced its commencement of an inquiry into the EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
BBC, on Wednesday, reported that the court confirmed that it is conducting a preliminary examination.
The office of the ICC prosecutor said it had received information on alleged crimes. It said the probe will, “assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met.”
Recall that the EndSARS peaceful protests kicked off in Lagos on October 8. Youths across the nation also replicated the peaceful protests in major cities, demanding the disbandment of SARS, a criminal police unit.
However, in less than a week, the peaceful protesters were repeatedly dispersed by the police in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), using live bullets, tear gas, water cannons in most cases.
Amid all these, thugs in Lagos and Abuja attacked End SARS gatherings at different locations with clubs, knives, and machetes.
There were also viral videos that showed when expensive vehicles were guiding and directing the hooligan, leading to some reported casualties. Many were injured, cars and phones damaged.
The same thing happened in Enugu and other places.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back in the peaceful protest occurred on October 20. It was tagged the #BloodyTuesday because, at about 6:45 pm, Nigerian Army troops allegedly opened fire on unarmed peaceful citizens at the Lekki toll plaza in Lagos.
The protesters stood their grounds as they waved Nigerian flags and chanted the national anthem.
The incident which caused deaths and injuries has become a dent in Nigeria’s image. Countries and international organizations have demanded prosecution of those involved.
Saddened by the military action taken by the Nigerian Government against its citizens, the rampaging youths, on October 21, occupied the streets in defiance of the curfew imposed by the state government.
Riots and arson broke out in Lagos and other states, mostly in Nigeria’s South. Several private and public properties were destroyed.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said 22 policemen were killed and 205 stations/formations destroyed during the nationwide riots.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have been advised by the divisional police head to protect themselves ahead of the yuletide and the new year, citing fear of more attacks and low morale of police officers.
The ICC has assured findings of the preliminary examination on crimes perpetrated during the End SARS protests would be made public.
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ICC initiates probe into #EndSARS protests, Lekki shootings, crimes in Nigeria