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International Criminal Court: An Early Warning To Nigerian Security Forces, Officials —By Aloy Ejimakor |The Republican News

The Rome Statute is the international treaty that founded the International Criminal Court. Comprising of 13 Parts, it establishes the governing framework for the Court. Adopted at the Rome Conference on 17th July 1998, it came into force on 1st July 2002, thereby creating the International Criminal Court.

The Statute sets out the Court’s jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and – as of an amendment in 2010 – the crime of aggression.

Nigeria has ratified the Statute, thus making the Nigerian State and non-State actors subject to the jurisdiction of ICC. The Nigerian State means its President and his appointees, especially the heads of the security agencies, their commanders, officers and the other ranks under them. It also includes Governors and all personnels working under their authority, directly or indirectly.

Among other things, the International Criminal Court was created to end impunity for perpetrators of genocide or crimes against humanity and it’s easily implicated wherever the perpetrators are the same as the persons officially saddled with the responsibility of protecting their victims. An example will include where State actors are known to have issued orders that directly or indirectly led to extrajudicial killings or other inhumane treatment.

The Statute defines genocide, in pertinent part, as including the killings or causing serious bodily or mental harm to an ethnic or national group with the intent to destroy them in whole or in part. If other elements are met, genocide becomes easier to prove when the perpetrator is of a different ethnicity from his victims. Nigeria is a tinderbox because of its many ethnicities and the genocidal tendencies that have been driving some of its officials in the implementation of security operations when it comes to a particular ethnicity.

Crimes against humanity include the widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population through murder, extermination, torture, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law. Included also is persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, ethnic or religious grounds universally recognized as impermissible under international law.

This is where Nigerian State actors need to be very circumspect when dealing with proponents of self determination because self determination is a political opinion clearly recognized under international law.

No government official enjoys immunity from ICC prosecution for genocide or crimes against humanity and there is no statute of limitation. In plain terms, neither the Nigerian Constitution or its sovereignty, nor the passage of time will protect you. Just imagine how long it took to nab Charles Taylor.

Under the Statute, commanders and superiors are saddled with special criminal responsibilities. In particular, a military or police commander, de jure or de facto, is criminally responsible for crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction if committed by forces under his effective control or authority.

Within purview also are crimes caused by neglecting to exercise proper control over forces under him where the commander either knew or should have known that the forces were committing or soon to commit such crimes and the commander neglected to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his power to prevent them or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

If the commander or superior officer is the one directly suborning the crime, such as in the case of Slobodan Milošević or Charles Taylor, the elements of the offense are met without more. Suborning the crime includes issuing direct orders to “shot to kill or shoot at sight”.

And for junior officers or other ranks, superior orders are not defenses to genocide or crimes against humanity. This means that when your superior officer orders you to “kill them all”, think twice before pulling that trigger.

The ICC Prosecutor shall initiate an investigation of alleged genocide or crimes against humanity upon receipt and evidentiary evaluation of information that provides a reasonable basis for the allegation.

On December 11, 2020, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has been investigating Nigeria for crimes that implicate the Rome Statute, made the following findings, amongst others:

‘Following a thorough process, I can announce today that the statutory criteria for opening an investigation into the situation in Nigeria have been met. Specifically, we have found a reasonable basis to believe that members of the Nigerian Security Forces have committed the following acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes: murder, rape, torture and cruel treatment; enforced disappearance; outrages upon personal dignity; intentionally directing attacks against civilian population and against individual civilians; unlawful imprisonment; persecution on political grounds; and other inhumane acts’.

Anybody who has been observing Nigeria since late 2015 would easily discern that some of the evidence examined by the ICC Chief Prosecutor included the killings at Nkpor in Anambra State, the night vigil killings in Aba, Abia State, the Onitsha head bridge killings, the killings issuing from Python Dance at Afaraukwu, Abia State and in which IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu nearly lost his life and lately the August 2020 Enugu massacre and the killing of EndSARS protesters in October 2020 in Lagos.

It’s instructive that these killings occurred from the inception of the present administration and State actors were implicated from the lowest rungs to the very top. The evidence, including visuals, is legion and unassailable. So, your guess as to who might ultimately be charged before the ICC is as good as mine. For now, the jury is still out on their identities because the developing indictment is as yet under seal.

Meanwhile, after December 2020, there have been more killings, woundings, torture and rape, including particularly at Obigbo and other locations in Rivers State and the Southeast, and lately the killings that have occurred and still occurring in the wake of the current security operations in Eastern Nigeria, code-named Operation Restore Peace which – in its implementation – is beginning to look like a misnomer.

In the midst of all these, it will be naive and foolhardy for Nigerian State actors (Federal, State and local) to believe that the ICC is not keeping tabs and building a stronger case from the quantum credible evidence mined from the many petitions streaming in from various sources.

So, for what’s worth, this humble piece is an early warning to all Nigerian officials who are – directly or indirectly – involved in any extrajudicial killings or other inhumane treatments that appear to be the order of the day in this era.

(Ejimakor, a lawyer writes from Alaigbo.)

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#EndSARS: DJ Switch To Speak To International Criminal Court Today |The Republican News

By Arogbonlo Israel

DJ Switch, a Nigerian female disc jockey, says she’ll be addressing the International Criminal Court (ICC) today, 17th December, 2020 over the #EnSARS protests that greeted the country in October.

Her words; “Tomorrow 17th of December 2020, I will be speaking at the 19th assembly of states parties to the International Criminal Court.

“I know we are all experiencing hardship one way or the other, I know it seems like no one cares enough for Nigeria and Africa to help us fight our oppressors. but this is the generation that does not take NO for an answer! So let me tell you straight up, it will take time… Maybe a long time.”

“So what do we have to lose that we already did not have? Security? Jobs? A working health system? What do we have to lose? Don’t give up! I told you… I’m not great at social media and updates but we are fighting seriously behind the scenes, something will definitely give,” she wrote.

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Why Buhari Is The Only World Leader Invited By ICC – Nigerian Envoy

Buhari-in-the-Hague

 

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Oji Ngofa, on Sunday said the decision of the International Criminal Court to invite only President Muhammadu Buhari among other world leaders to the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the Court was an indication of the high regard in which Nigeria is held.

Ngofa said this in an interview with journalists in The Hague ahead of Buhari’s arrival in the country.

He explained that Nigeria has always been a strong pillar of support to the ICC, especially in Africa, since the adoption of the Rome Statute establishing the Court on July 17, 1998.

The envoy said, ‘‘As the only Head of State invited to this milestone event by the Court, that is indicative of the high regard in which Nigeria is held.

‘‘Nigeria has always been a strong pillar of support to the ICC especially in Africa, in the last 20 years, and this visit shows that this support is recognised and appreciated.

‘‘Whilst there has been some criticism of the Court, President Buhari believes that its work is vital to preventing impunity worldwide, and ensuring accountability for perpetrators of the most serious crimes.

‘‘I am certain that this visit will reassure the ICC that Nigeria remains a strong advocate of the ideals of the Rome Statute.”

Ngofa expressed the belief that Buhari’s visit will be an opportunity to show Nigeria’s appreciation for the honour done to the country by electing a Nigerian as President of the Court.

‘‘The President of the Court, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji is a distinguished Nigerian jurist.

‘‘His election as President by his peers in March 2018 indicates that his cerebral and leadership traits have not gone unnoticed,’’ he said.

The ambassador expressed satisfaction with the current volume of trade between the two counties which he said currently stood at 3 billion Euro in the first quarter of 2018.

He said Nigeria was working hard to diversify its export base and increase the non-oil exports from Nigeria to the Netherlands, in line with the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

He added, ‘‘The latest figures released by the NBS (Q1) 2018 shows that the Netherlands is currently Nigeria’s largest trading partner, with the trade volume of over €3 billion (N1.2 trillion).

‘‘This total is composed of imports from the Netherlands worth €726 million and exports to the Netherlands of €2.29 billion. Nigeria, therefore, has a healthy trade surplus with the Netherlands.

‘‘However, a majority of the value of the exports are petroleum-based.”

Ngofa also spoke on the visa policy of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria.

In 2013, the Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria had swapped their visa application processes in Nigeria with the French Consulate-General in Lagos and the Embassy of Belgium in Abuja.

The envoy said, ”This has been one recurring theme in my interactions with the Dutch authorities since my arrival as Ambassador late last year. I also had to get my visa to this country from the Belgian embassy in Abuja, and upon my arrival, I have kept this issue on the front burner with host authorities.

”We have made series of representations and the Dutch have promised to expedite action to see that their Embassy resumes issuance of Schengen visas in Abuja.

”We believe that with the increasing trade relations between our countries, priority must be given by the Dutch to visa applicants in Nigeria, as this would facilitate business and people-to-people contact.”

On other consular issues, the Ambassador praised Nigerian community in the Netherlands for being generally law-abiding and contributing positively to various aspects of Dutch society.

”There are, however, a few Nigerians who are detained mainly for immigration and sundry offences.

”The Embassy always provides consular assistance to them, upon their request, and also liaises with the host authorities to ensure that the basic human rights of the detainees are respected. From our records, there are less than 30 Nigerians detained in the Netherlands,” he said.  (Punch)

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Biafra: ICC To Investigate Killing Of IPOB Activists During ‘Operation Python Dance’

Soldiers-IPOBmembers in Aba

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.

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International Criminal Court (ICC) To Probe Herdsmen Attacks In Nigeria |RN

 

ICC1

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.

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