[JURIST] Access to Justice (A2Justice) [advocacy website] and eight other civil rights groups brought Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan before the Federal High Court [official website] in Abuja Monday with the goal of forcing an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by members of the Nigerian military and the state-sponsored militias, the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) [CFR backgrounder]. The rights groups have sought permission from the court to file a mandamus action under Order 34 Rule 3(1) and (2) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 [text, PDF]. If granted, the mandamus order would require the Nigerian government to investigate allegations of war crimes and human rights violations committed by CJTF in north-eastern Nigeria. The push for a government investigation was sparked by a report [text] from Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] accusing the Nigerian military and the CJTF of war crimes during the ongoing campaign against Boko Haram [CFR backgrounder].
The ongoing insurgency campaign by Boko Haram in North-eastern Nigeria has killed thousands since 2009. In October a Nigerian federal court ruled [JURIST report] in favor of the Bring Back Our Girls group [advocacy website], saying that the police had no right to block protests in Nigeria. In May the UN criticized Boko Haram for kidnapping [JURIST report] more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April with the intention of selling them and “marry[ing] them off.” In March AI published a report denouncing the extremists [JURIST report] and security forces for committing war crimes, 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.