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1,600 accused of Boko Haram membership to go on trial in Nigeria


1,600 accused of Boko Haram membership to go on trial in Nigeria

Boko Haram trial
Boko Haram trial
Photo: Emmanuel Braun/Reuters

Today, Nigeria’s Federal High Court will begin the trials of more than 1,600 alleged members of the ISIS-linked extremist group Boko Haram.

A judicial hiatus in July brought trials to a halt—only 13 had been concluded prior to the break. Just four judges have been appointed to sit on the 1,600 cases, making their speedy execution unlikely.

A scarcity of forensic evidence, an overreliance on confession-based evidence and a lack of cooperation between investigators and prosecutors will plague the trials, possibly jeopardising the accuracy of their rulings.

Nigeria has been accused of numerous human rights violations throughout its conflict with Boko Haram. Thousands of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and deaths under military detention have been cited by groups like Amnesty International.

split within Boko Haram has significantly weakened the cohesiveness of the organisation, which has given Nigerian forces a significant upper hand in the conflict over the past few months. At this point, the group only controls small swaths of territory in northeastern Nigeria.

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