ICC opens inquiry into ‘crimes’ committed during #EndSARS protests

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary inquiry into the demonstrations against harassment and brutality by the police in Nigeria.

According to a BBC report, the ICC said it had received information on alleged crimes during the protests, which were organised under the #EndSARS campaign.

In October, many Nigerians took to the streets to call for an end to police brutality.

In response to the protests, Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), announced the dissolution of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) — a unit that had been accused of extrajudicial killings.

The ICC said the inquiry will begin with “whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met”.

The development is coming after a number of civil society organisations (CSO) threatened to report some heads of security agencies to the ICC over the conduct of their personnel during the demonstrations, popularly called #EndSARS protests.

However, Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, has since dismissed the threats to report him and some heads of security agencies to the ICC and other international authorities.

“They have continually threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families,” Buratai had said.

“Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better.”