Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Federal Government is worried that the International Criminal Court is unrelenting in pursuing eight cases against Nigeria, says the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubabakar Malami (SAN).
He said this on Thursday while playing host to the newly elected President of the ICC, Prof. Chile Osuji, at his office in Abuja.
Malami said the ICC had “escalated” eight potential cases against Nigeria from “the initial preliminary examination to a preliminary investigation”.
Six of the cases were said to be against Boko Haram and two against the military.
He said the stepping up of the investigation against Nigeria was worrisome because the government had demonstrated its willingness and ability to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone that committed any offence that fell within the Rome Statute of the ICC.
Malami said, “Presently, the ICC has escalated the eight potential cases against Nigeria – six against the Boko Haram and two against the military – from the initial preliminary examination to the preliminary investigation.
“This is worrisome, as Nigeria has demonstrated beyond doubt, and in absolute cooperation with the ICC, that it is willing and able and, as a matter of fact, it is indeed arresting, investigating and prosecuting anyone that commits an offence that falls within the Rome Statute of the ICC.
“The above being the case, Nigeria views the escalation of the eight potential cases as uncalled for in the circumstance.”
He assured the ICC president that Nigeria is “a country that believes in the operation of the rule of law, fundamental freedom and the need to fight impunity in all ramifications” the escalation of the eight potential cases “would not deter us from further expressing and demonstrating support to the ICC.”
Responding, Osuji commended Nigeria for its support to the ICC and assured that the court would continue to work against injustice and abuse of powers in its area of jurisdiction.
The ICC President described as inaccurate and erroneous the impression that Article 27 of the Rome Statute that prohibits immunity being extended to any head of state or senior government officials was targeted at African leaders.
He said the provision and the reason for that portion of the Rome Statute predated independence of African states. (Punch)
Inhumane treatment of IPOB members by Nigerian soldiers during ‘operation python dance’ in South East Nigeria
The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has indicated that it will investigate the September 2017 invasion of a community in Abia State, Nigeria by soldiers of the Nigeria Army during a military exercise codenamed Operation Python Dance.
This was contained in a letter from the office of the prosecutor in response to a petition filed to the court by a Nigerian award-winning journalist, Mr. Ahaoma Kanu, following the military occupation of Afara Ukwu community in Umuahia in a bid to arrest the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, which led to the killing of several unarmed members of the group.
The letter with reference number OTP-CR-413/17 dated March 20, 2018, which is the second response by the court to the petitioner, confirmed that the military invasion and deaths recorded relate to a situation already under preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor.
“Accordingly, your communication will be analysed in this context, with the assistance of other related communications and other available information,” the letter signed by Mark Dillon, head of the Information and Evidence Unit at the Office of the Prosecutor, read.
Members of the IPOB have come under constant attack by security agencies in Nigeria including the Nigeria Army, Directorate for State Security (DSS) and the Nigeria Police leading to the extrajudicial killing of hundreds of their members since 2015 when Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on charges of treason. After the September 16, 2017, attack on his country home, Kanu and his aged father have not been seen till date fuelling speculations he was being held by the state.
Following petitions by civil rights groups, ICC commenced and concluded preliminary investigations into the alleged killing of over 200 members of the Islamic M0vement of Nigeria (IMN) in December 2015 as well as opened preliminary investigations into the killings of members of the IPOB by the Nigeria Army soldiers in October 2015.
In a September 24, 2017 petition, CNN African Journalist Award winner, Ahaoma Kanu, filed a petition to the ICC calling for an investigation and prosecution of the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai and all members of the Nigeria Army involved in the extrajudicial killings of the IPOB members during the Operation Python Dance exercise.
Dillon stated that” Under Article 53 of the Rome Statutes, the Prosecutor must consider whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed, the gravity of the crimes, whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, and the interests of justice.”
He went further to say that “Analysis will be carried out as expeditiously as possible, but please be aware that meaningful analysis of these factors can take some time,” promising to provide reasons for any decision reached by the court to proceed with the investigation.
The petitioner said he is very optimistic that the court will reach a decision to go ahead with an investigation because of the weight of evidence attached to a memory stick attached to the petition.
President Buhari and Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Buratai
The press statement released by The United States law firms Bruce Fein, and Bruce Delvalle states on the collection of evidence in a suit against President Muhammadu Buhari and Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Turkur Buratai for genocide and crime against humanity in the International Criminal Court ICC in the Hague.
Many who thought the Biafran agitators were playing with propaganda about a suit against Buhari and Buratai in the ICC in the Hague could now see that it is after all not a joke but a real case that could see both appear in court someday in the International Criminal Court to answer for these charges.
American Lawyers Announce Collection of Evidence to Prosecute Nigeria’s President Buhari and Lt. General Buratai in the International Criminal Court for Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
WASHINGTON, D.C.– On behalf of Biafrans who covet justice—the dead, the living, and those yet to be born—the law firm of Fein & DelValle PLLC is drafting a criminal indictment against Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, for genocide and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Buhari and Buratai are criminally culpable because of their command responsibility for security forces operating under their direction or control and who are terrorizing tens of millions of Biafrans specifically because of their Christianity and ethnicity. The crimes include extrajudicial killings, torture, and sister unspeakable horrors. They are the grisly signature of Buhari’s and Buratai’s ongoing military campaign in the South East region with the euphemistic moniker “Operation Python Dance II.
The indictment being drafted by Fein & DelValle will be presented to Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda. It will be modelled after the genocide or crimes against humanity indictments returned against Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, Sudan’s Omar Bashir, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Chad’s Hissen Habre, and Cambodia’s Comrade Duch.
The overwhelming majority of Biafrans cannot speak for themselves without risking lethal retaliation by President Buhari or Lt. General Buratai. That fear explains the reason the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted the motion of Fein & DelValle to reference their ten (10) Biafran plaintiffs anonymously in their Torture Victims Protection Act suit against sixteen (16) individual Nigerian defendants in Doe, et al. v. Buratai, et al., Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-0133.
Fein & Delvalle are gathering photographic, video, and testimonial evidence of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Buhari and Buratai against Igbos not only in the South East region but also in northern Nigeria and elsewhere. There is no safe haven in Nigeria for them. Last June, Hausa Fulani youths in northern Nigeria (AREWA) with impunity threated to evict eleven million Igbos from their homes and businesses in northern Nigeria by force and violence if they did not quit the area by October 1, 2017.
Mr Fein stated: “We are confident that 50 million Igbos in Nigeria were not born with saddles on their backs ready to be ridden by booted and spurred Hausa-Fulani with the grace of God. Criminal prosecutions of Buhari and Buratai before the International Criminal Court are the best way of teaching that gospel.”
Mr Fein and Mr DelValle voiced optimism that the prosecutions of Buhari and Buratai will prompt the United Nations Security Council to task the United Nations Electoral Unit to conduct a referendum on Biafran independence in the South East region; and, to operate a transitional government for a six-month period prior to the balloting to avoid any intimidation of the voters. It is no accident that South Sudan achieved independence on the heels of President Bashir’s ICC indictment for genocide in Darfur.
Nigeria’s current borders were drawn by a racist British colonial master more than a century ago with no reference to the inhabitants. The boundaries are moral, legal, and politically indefensible. The Government of Nigeria does not reflect popular will on that score. It rules under a 1999 Constitution that was decreed by a military dictator for the purpose, among other things, of holding Igbos in bondage to Hausa-Fulani terrorists.
Britain defaulted on its decolonization obligation to permit self-determination referenda by each of the separate and distinct peoples of Nigeria. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514, Dec. 14, 1960, provides:
“All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
The Alaigbo Development Forum (ADF) has called that a befitting memorial me built in Asaba in memory of the slain Igbo civilians of Asaba massacred by Nigerian soldiers on October 7, 1967.
The leader of the ADF, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala made the call in the address of the group he presented at the 50thanniversary of the genocide led by Murtala Mohammed during the civil war.
In the message, ADF said: “We will like to be associated with the project of a befitting Memorial, possibly a War Museum in Asaba in Memory of the victims of the Asaba Genocide.
We can’t be done without paying glowing tribute to our father and historical icon, a man of immense global stature who has done a lot for the cause ofAlaigbo, whose Igbo-ness compelled him to take a wife from the other side of Alaigbo – what else could be a stronger show of Hand-Shake Across the Niger in warm embrace of Igbo sons and daughters. We mean none other than Chief (Dr.) Sonny IwedikeOdogwu, the Ide Ahaba.
We salute the memory of Chief Dennis Osadebay, the first civilian governor of the Midwest Region and Secretary of Igbo State Union. So we do salute the memory of Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, the former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Indeed, the gruesome cold-blooded killings of innocent civilians by troops of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, culminating in the “Dance of Death” at Ogbeosewah in Asaba on October 7, 1967, where hundreds of helpless civilians were mowed down and buried dead or alive in a mass grave, is the darkest chapter in our history which we must continue to recall for the benefit of our children including those yet unborn.
The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) salutes the courage of those who have continued to provide us with the records of the event as well as the opportunity to honour the memory of our people who were victims of this sad and unforgettable event.
We salute the courage of the Asaba people and their noble spirit. We salute the courage of people like Professors Elizabeth Byrd and Frazier Ottonelly who have sustained the records for the sake of history. We also salute our brother Emma Okocha, author of the immortal work – The Blood on the Niger – a book that will perpetually challenge the conscience of men and women of good conscience throughout the ages.
“We salute the courage of our brother, Ifeanyi Uriah and other survivors of that genocide. Ify was with us at the International Colloquium on
the Igbo Question in Nigeria. The Asaba Massacre featured strongly at that event in our search for the roots of Igbo predicament in Nigeria.
His eye-witness account of that massacre presented on that occasion is captioned Ogbeosowah: The Rise from the Dead. An Eyewitness
Account. It is published in the two-volume publication that came out of that Colloquium with the title IGBO NATION: History and Challenges of Rebirth and Development.” (The Sun)
The Nigerian Army said it will punish any soldiers or officer found guilty in the maltreatment and dehumanization of some alleged members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Abia state in South East Nigeria.
The Army in a statement on its website said: “Our Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement are quite clear and any officer or soldier that infringed on any of such directive if found guilty, will face the full wrath of the military justice system.”
A video which had gone viral had shown the several Nigerian Army soldiers whipping with stick and clubs some youths allegedly belonging to IPOB.
There were some others where young people rounded up and laid or stacked side by side on the bare ground was commanded by soldiers and compelled to brutalize themselves in twos.
The video also showed the soldiers ordering the youths to rolls in muddy waters and some died as a result of the torture and inhuman treatment by the Nigerian Army troops.
The Army statement signed by the spokesman in Enugu, Colonel Sagir Musa reads in full: “The attention of the Headquarters 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a video clip trending on social media and other platforms purportedly showing troops humiliating some people at a checkpoint in Abia State, Nigeria.
“The issue is being investigated to ascertain the source and the actors in the clip. Our Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement are quite clear and any officer or soldier that infringed on any of such directive if found guilty will face the full wrath of the military justice system.
“We would like to inform the public that 82 Division is also aware of the planned misinformation and propaganda arrangement by the secessionists’ Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“They intend to churn out pre-recorded video clips aimed at discrediting the Nigerian Army, causing disaffection among the citizens of this country. They will be using bogus, manipulated and photo-shopped photographs as well as video clips.
“The public should be wary of such mischief, scrutinize and report same to the Nigerian Army or any of security agencies. The Division wishes to reassure the public that it is determined to ensuring the safety of lives and properties in its area of operational responsibility, particularly the entire South East geopolitical zone as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We do not condone any act of indiscipline in the conduct of our operations and training exercises. Any claim of rights violation would be investigated and when confirmed, appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against the erring personnel. ” (The Sun)
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.
Related video: Spicer says Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” (courtesy of Reuters)
WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Sean Spicer is apologizing for making an “insensitive” reference to the Holocaust in earlier comments about Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
Spicer says in an interview with CNN that he mistakenly used “an inappropriate, insensitive reference to the Holocaust.” He says there was no comparison and “it was a mistake to do that.” He adds, “It was my blunder.”
Spicer said during a White House briefing Tuesday that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” That drew instant rebuke from Jewish groups and critics who noted it ignored Hitler’s use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.
Spicer was attempting to discuss the horror of the chemical weapons attack last week in Syria.
This is a breaking news update. Check back later for more. (REUTERS)