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ICC considering investigation into recent Nigeria violence

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] will consider a petition from the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) [advocacy website] calling for an investigation into recent violence in Jos, Nigeria, according to a response letter [text, PDF] sent to SERAP Monday. SERAP lawyer Femi Falana welcomed [press release, DOC] the ICC's response, saying:

This is an important decision; we look forward to the ICC getting fully involved and addressing the subject matter of the petition. Given the persistent lack of political will by the Nigerian government to address the problem, we believe the intervention by the ICC in this case is especially important as the ICC can once and for all address the responsible of those who instigated the violence in Jos. The ICC decision is also an important development for the tens of thousands of victims of the latest violence and previous outbreaks of deadly violence in Jos. Ending impunity for the cycle of violence in many parts of Nigeria is absolutely important for sustainable peace, stability and security, and for the country’s social, economic and political development.

SERAP sent a letter [text, DOC] to International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] last week requesting an inquiry [JURIST report] into the spate of religious violence [BBC report] that erupted in Jos in January.

Violence between Muslims and Christians in Jos claimed at least 326 lives in January. Jos is located between Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north and Christian south. Riots also took place in Jos in 2001 and 2008. While most Jos Christians back the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), the majority of Muslims back the opposition All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). SERAP allegations that the Nigerian government is unable to meet its obligations to protect human rights have compounded the country's existing political turmoil [JURIST report], as ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua [BBC profile] is out of the country receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

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