On the 13th of July 2013, the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) applied for an arrest warrant in the Federal High Court in and effort to compel the government to arrest Sudan’s president Omar Al-Bashir and hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC issued an arrest warrant in 2009 for Mr Bashir alongside three others, for charges of genocide in Darfur region of Sudan. An estimated 300,000 have died and some 2.7 million others displaced since the conflict broke out in 2003. Sadly, Omar Bashir who was in Nigeria attending an AU summit conference on health fled the country 24hours after his arrival amidst protest for his arrest.
The NCICC chairman, steering committee Mr Chino Obiagwu frowned at Nigeria’s failure to arrest the Sudanese president stating that “Nigeria was in breach of its international obligations by failing to arrest him, and was fueling a culture of impunity. He added that Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, and as such, has international legal obligations to ensure that this country does not become a safe haven for alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law like Al-Bashir. He warned that:
Failure of Nigeria to do so was a brazen disregard of its international treaty obligation under Article 89 of the Rome Statute of the ICC which it has ratified since 2001. It amounted to grave diplomatic blunder for the Jonathan administration to invite and give full ceremonial reception to a war crime indictee in disregard of millions of victims of Darfur atrocities and their families, some of them Nigerian citizens who are still crying for justice.
NCICC noted that such failure also undermines the pursuit of international justice, peace and security which are the objectives of the ICC.
Nigeria signed the Rome statute on the 1st of June 2000 and ratified it on September 2011 making it the 39th state party to the Rome statute.