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Nigeria's Boko Haram accused of war crimes

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The International Criminal Court said Tuesday it has reason to believe Nigerian militant group Boko Haram committed crimes against humanity.

Boko Haram, a terrorist group committed to establishing Islamic law in Nigeria, was accused of carrying out July attacks that left more than 40 people dead.

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, imposed a state of emergency over parts of the country early this year in response to the Boko Haram threat. The order was eased, however, in recognition of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The International Criminal Court said Tuesday it determined there was "a reasonable basis" to believe Boko Haram committed crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

"Since July 2009, Boko Haram has launched a widespread and systematic attack that has resulted in the killing of more than 1,200 Christian and Muslims civilians in different locations throughout Nigeria," the court said. "The scale and intensity of the attacks have increased over time."

The court said it was investigating whether national authorities were conducting a thorough investigation of their own into the severe crimes allegedly committed.

It said in a 33-page report it was reviewing a wide range of issues in Nigeria. It may decide at a later date to open up a formal investigation.

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