The International Criminal Court (ICC) has officially recognized a petition submitted by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) against Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and other state actors regarding the prevalent insecurity and incessant killings in the state.
Intersociety filed a criminal complaint before the ICC in the Netherlands, accusing Governor Uzodinma and 31 other individuals, including former and current public office holders, of participating in crimes against humanity from January 2021 to May 2023.
According to a report by SaharaReporters, the petition includes allegations of mass murders, abductions, disappearances, torture, and other gross human rights abuses. The complaint was jointly signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair of Intersociety, and several other officials.
“The Criminal Complaint was titled: ‘Notice Of Intention To File A (Criminal) Complaint And Request For The Initiation Of An Investigation Into Crimes Against Humanity In Imo State, Nigeria Pursuant To Articles 13(c), 15 and 53 Of The Rome Statute On The Basis Of Information On The Crimes Within The Jurisdiction Of The International Criminal Court “ICC”,” the group stated.
The petition further alleges that Governor Uzodinma, as the Commandant General of the Imo Ebubeagu Militia (Vigilante) Group and Chief Security Officer of the State since January 20, 2020, aided and abetted the mass atrocities in the state.
Intersociety’s Special Research and Investigative Report of May 21, 2023, highlighted what it described as extensive extrajudicial killings, torture, physical assaults, abductions, and other gross human rights violations in Imo State. The report also implicates other state actors who are accused of conspiring and perpetrating these alleged acts.
The filed complaint asserts that there is sufficient prima facie evidence warranting an investigation by the ICC. It cites violations of international human rights and criminal laws and norms under the United Nations and African Union systems, including ratified conventions such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The ICC, established in 2002, investigates and prosecutes individuals charged with grave crimes of concern to the international community, such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
The criminal complaint filed by Intersociety has been duly received and acknowledged by the Office of the ICC Prosecutor under the reference “INTER-SOCIETY AND OTHERS VS HOPE UZODINMA OF IMO STATE, NIGERIA AND OTHERS.” The individuals implicated in the case include the Commandant General of the Imo Ebubeagu Militia (Vigilante) Group and Chief Security Officer of the State since January 20, 2020, as well as former and current Imo State Commissioners of Justice and Attorneys General.
Intersociety’s report claimed that during Governor Uzodinma’s nearly three years of rule, security forces and militias have killed 900 people, wounded 700, arbitrarily arrested and detained 3,500 individuals, extorted 1,400, and displaced thousands more.