SERAP drags Buhari government, military to ICC over killing of #EndSARS protesters

YEMIE FASH

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SERAP drags Buhari government, military to ICC over killing of #EndSARS protesters

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a petition to Mrs Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to “promptly investigate reports that Nigerian authorities, military, and some politicians have used/ and are using thugs, soldiers and security agents to intimidate, harass, attack and kill #EndSARS peaceful protesters in several parts of Nigeria, including Abuja, Lagos, Edo, Osun, Plateau, and Kano states.”

SERAP urged Mrs Bensouda to “push for those suspected to be responsible for these crimes, mostly security officials, soldiers, some politicians and other actors who directly or indirectly have individually and/or collectively contributed to the attacks, deaths and injuries, and are therefore complicit in the crimes, to be tried by the ICC.”

In the petition dated 21 October 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The Nigerian authorities over the years have been unwilling and/or unable to prosecute suspected perpetrators of killing of protesters, which in turn has promoted a culture of impunity and emboldened authorities, the military, politicians and their accomplices who continue to commit human rights crimes against protesters.”

SERAP said: “The violent attacks on peaceful protesters in Lekki, Alausa, and other parts of the country suggest the lack of political will by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to respect people’s human rights, including the rights to life, dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”

According to SERAP: “The repeated attacks on peaceful protesters suggest the misuse of the military and security agents by the Nigerian authorities and the failure to apply criminal sanctions to suspected perpetrators.”

The petition, read in part: “Without accountability for these serious human rights crimes against peaceful protesters, the victims will continue to be denied access to justice, and impunity of perpetrators will remain widespread and the result will continue to be a vicious cycle of violence against Nigerians.”

“Nigerian authorities, military and some politicians have failed abysmally to ensure the enjoyment of the rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression and peaceful protest by the people. These events suggest criminal conduct within the jurisdiction of the ICC.”

SERAP therefore urged the ICC to:

  1. Urgently commence an investigation proprio motu on the widespread and systematic problem of attacks on protesters, with a view to determining whether these amount to violence against the Nigerian people and crime against humanity within the Court’s jurisdiction. In this respect, we also urge you to invite representatives of the Nigerian government, the military to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the Court, so that the Prosecutor is able to conclude since available information whether there is a reasonable basis for an investigation, and to submit a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber for authorization of an investigation;
    1. Bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for widespread and systematic attacks on peaceful protesters across the country;
    1. Urge the Nigerian government to fulfil its obligations under the Rome Statute to cooperate with the ICC; including complying with your requests to arrest and surrender suspected perpetrators of the widespread and systematic crime of violence against peaceful protesters, testimony, and provide other support to the ICC;
    1. Compel the Nigerian authorities to ensure that Nigerians are afforded their right to life, dignity, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and ensure reparations to victims, including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation and guarantee of non-repetition

 

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