Crimes committed by the members of Boko Haram in Nigeria are not only the subject of national trials but also of preliminary examination at the International Criminal Court (ICC). This article focuses on the sexual slavery perpetrated by Boko Haram, describes how the crimes are viewed within the national Nigerian criminal process and addresses the possibility of prosecution of the crimes at the ICC.
This article analyses the legal terminology used to describe the crimes connected to Boko Haram – enslavement, sexual slavery, human trafficking and terrorism – and their interaction. While providing an overview of the ICC’s current preliminary examination into the situation in Nigeria, this article discusses how the principle of complementarity is potentially holding the OTP back from the formal investigation.
Furthermore, an overview of cases at the ICC that have involved charges of sexual slavery or enslavement will be provided. By analysing the Court’s findings in relation to elements of sexual slavery, this article provides an insightful view into the Court’s rhetoric on this crime. Similarly, this article discusses modes of liability that have been employed in the Katanga/Chui and Ntaganda cases and provides a learning opportunity for future cases of sexual slavery as both a crime against humanity (Article 7(1)(g) of the Rome Statute) and a war crime (Article 8(2)(e)(vi) of the Rome Statute; 8(2)(b)(xxii) of the Rome Statute).
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