Preliminary examination


The opening of the preliminary examination of the situation in Nigeria was made public on 18 November 2010. The Office of the Prosecutor has received various communications under article 15 of the Rome Statute in relation to the situation in Nigeria. The Office has examined information regarding a wide range of alleged crimes committed on the territory of Nigeria since 2010. While the Office's preliminary examination has primarily focused on alleged crimes committed by Boko Haram since July 2009 and by the Nigerian Security Forces since the beginning of the non-international armed conflict between the Nigerian Security Forces and Boko Haram since June 2011, it has also examined alleged crimes falling outside the context of this conflict. Since 2015, the preliminary examination also focused on the existence and genuineness of national proceedings in relation to these crimes. On 11 December 2020, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the completion of the preliminary examination, having concluded that there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed.


Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC engaged with the Nigerian authorities from the start and in April 2022, he visited Nigeria to discuss the situation. During these engagements, he reminded Nigerian authorities of their legal obligations under the Rome Statute to conduct effective, genuine and meaningful national investigations and prosecutions with respect to the alleged conduct identified by the Office. Since then, the Office has continuously and positively engaged with the national authorities. This led the Nigerian authorities to provide the Office with additional information on relevant domestic proceedings. In March 2024, Deputy Prosecutor Mame Mandiaye Niang visited Nigeria, and stressed that the Office is giving a chance to the principle of complementarity in Nigeria, but remains committed to move forward with investigations in the absence of genuine efforts by Nigerian authorities to bridge existing impunity gaps.