The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands has assured the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) that it had begun an investigation into herdsmen attacks in the country.
It’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, said in Abuja yesterday that it received a letter from the ICC informing it of the decision.
HURIWA said in a statement that the letter dated August 15, 2017, and signed by its Head of Information and Evidence Unit, Office of the Prosecutor, Mark Dillon, was a sequel to HURIWA’s petition to the global rights court.
It said the group demanded the prosecution of sponsors of the herdsmen attacks since President Muhammadu Buhari had failed to sanction those, it described as mass murderers two years on.
The statement added that in its letter dated September 15, 2016, titled: “Unlawful Homicide Under Nigerian Laws and the Obligation of the Nigerian State to Enforce the Laws,” noted that it invited the ICC to investigate the killings in Nigeria.
In ICC’s response, it told HURIWA that a similar petition had been filed and that the matter was already under preliminary examination by the office of the chief prosecutor.”On behalf of the prosecutor, I thank you for your communication received on 15/09/2016 and subsequent related information.
“It appears that your communication relates to a situation already under preliminary examination by the office of the prosecutor,” the ICC letter read in part.
The court added that HURIWA communication would be analysed in relation to other related communication and available information.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) yesterday asked ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to investigate allegations of corruption in the electricity sector since 1999 amounting to over N11 trillion.
The corruption in the sector, it said, amounted to crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC, and to prevail on the Nigerian government to surrender all suspected perpetrators for trial.The request was predicated on the fact that the country was party to the Rome Statute and deposited its instrument of ratification on September 27, 2001.
In a petition signed by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, the group said, “allegations of corruption in the electricity sector have had catastrophic effects on the lives of millions of Nigerians, akin to crimes against humanity as contemplated under the Rome Statue and within the jurisdiction of the Court.”
“The Rome Statute in article 7 defines ‘crime against humanity’ to include ‘inhumane acts causing great sufferings or injury,’ committed in a widespread or systematic manner against a civilian population,” it added.The report also said the total estimated financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector since the return to democracy in 1999 amounts to over N11 trillion.