• Rome Statute:
  • Signature: June 1, 2000
  • Ratification or Accension: September 27, 2001
  • Phase: Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment



phase: Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment


The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Nigeria focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involves Nigerian government forces (Security Forces, Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF)) and Boko Haram. The armed conflict occurred from 2009 to present, but this preliminary examination focuses on the time period of January 2013 to December 2015. 

In July 2009, Boko Haram attacked police stations and government buildings in northern Nigeria, and Nigerian government forces counterattacked the Boko Haram compound in Maiduguri, killing an estimated 100 Boko Haram members and its founder. Boko Haram is a Muslim armed group formed to impose Shariah law over northern Nigeria. After the July 2009 clash, Boko Haram radicalized under a new leader and promulgated its vision of Islam through suicide bomb attacks, killings, kidnappings, sexual slavery, forced marriages, and sexual violence. Boko Haram carried out Christmas day bomb attacks against churches in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. In February 2014, Boko Haram burned or shot to death at least 29 teenage boys at a Buni Yadi state college. In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 girls from a Chibok school.

In December 2015, claiming a security threat, Nigerian government forces attacked the Islamic Movement in Nigeria compound in Zaria, killing an estimated 830 Shiites. After international calls for investigation of the Zaria massacre, Nigeria created a judicial commission. Nigeria’s judicial commission reported that Nigerian government forces had used excessive force and killed 348 Shiites.

ICC Status

Nigeria is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on September 27, 2001. On November 18, 2010, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Nigeria, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) announced a preliminary examination. In an August 2013 report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram committed crimes against humanity. In a November 2015 report, the OTP identified eight potential cases involving crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Boko Haram (six cases) and Nigerian government forces (two cases).

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Nigeria is in the admissibility assessment phase.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Nigeria, please visit the ICC page.