[JURIST] A Nigerian federal court [official website] on Thursday ruled in favor of the Bring Back Our Girls group [advocacy website], saying that the police had no right to block protests in Nigeria. Earlier this year the Bring Back Our Girls activists began daily sit-ins at the Unity Fountain in the capital city Abuja to press their demands for the release of the 219 school girls that were abducted by insurgents in Chibok. Soon after, former Federal Capital Territory (FTC) Police Commissioner Joseph Mbu banned the group from holding further protests. On Thursday Justice Ebenezer Aladetoyinbo declared the law does not authorize the police to disrupt rallies or processions about the abducted girls. The judgment is applauded as a victory for the group. It is unclear whether the police will appeal, but the lawyer to the police said that the judgment would be studied [Daily Post report].
Several international organizations and rights groups have routinely condemned the violence and atrocities occurring in Nigeria. In May the UN criticized Boko Haram for kidnapping more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls [JURIST report] in April with the intention of selling them and “marry[ing] them off.” In March Amnesty International (AI) published a report denouncing the extremists and security forces for committing war crimes [JURIST report], often against civilians, and urged the parties to abide by several applicable international human rights charters, covenants and courts as well as the humanitarian stance of the UN. In October 2013 AI pressed the Nigerian government to investigate allegations of the deaths of over 950 detainees in military custody [JURIST report], mostly in facilities used to detain members of Boko Haram. Also in October 2013 the Nigerian Socio-Economic and Rights Accountability Project [official website] filed a petition with the International Criminal Court (ICC) endorsing an investigation into the killing of 43 college students and their teachers [JURIST report], reportedly by Boko Haram. The ICC has accused Boko Haram of committing war crimes and has been assessing whether Nigerian authorities are proceeding properly [JURIST reports] in response to the crimes.