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Human Rights Council holds enhanced interactive dialogue on the…

On the 18th of September 2017, the Human Rights Council  held an enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in South Sudan.

Taking part in the dialogue were Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan; Paulino Wanawilla Unango, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of South Sudan; Augustino Njorge, Deputy Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission for the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan; Eugene Nindorera, Director of Human Rights of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan; and Khabele Matlosa, Director of the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission. In her statement, Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that the scale of human suffering generated by the crisis in South Sudan was almost beyond description.  Readmore

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UN brokers deal to end use of children in…

On the 20th of September 2017, the United Nations Organization entered  a revolutionary agreement with the  Civilian Joint Task Force that will end the use of children in the conflict against Boko Haram in north-east of Nigeria.

The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was  formed largely from vigilante groups in response to the Boko Haram insurgency. The force protects communities in areas poorly guarded by the military, but has been accused of rape and human rights abuses by Human Rights Watch and other rights organizations.

Minors have been recruited by Boko Haram since its inception in 2013, often for search operations, to guard outposts and to perform night patrols.

According to the UN, between October 2015 and August 2017, more than 360 children were used by the 23,000-strong armed task force, some as young as nine. Since the insurgency began in Nigeria in 2009, more than 8,000 children have been recruited by Boko Haram, with children – especially young girls – increasingly used as suicide bombers.

The report also found that attacks by Boko Haram on communities and security forces had resulted in the deaths of more than 3,900 children. A further 7,300 have been injured.

In the same period, suicide attacks became the second leading cause of child casualties, accounting for more than 1,000 deaths and 2,100 injuries.

The concord, reached after a year of negotiations led by the UN, will draw a line under the enlistment of children by the group.

Mohamed Fall, a UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said: “We have seen too many childhoods destroyed by the crisis in the north-east. Today’s agreement is an important milestone for child protection and paves the way for a brighter future for children caught up in the conflict.”

Under an action plan, implemented as part of the agreement with the Borno state government and Nigerian state authorities, children will receive psycho-social support and undertake community reintegration programmes, and attempts will be made to reunite them with their families.

Displaced families stand at the main gate of a camp for internally displaced people at Monguno, Borno state
Displaced families stand at the main gate of a camp for internally displaced people at Monguno, Borno state

 

Jibrin Gunda, the legal adviser for the CJTF, said the agreement was a vital step. “We’ve already started to carry out the action plan we signed with the UN,” he said. “Anyone under the age of 18 will no longer be a part of the CJTF. We are doing our best to make sure we are on the right side of human rights codes.”

The special representative of the secretary-general for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba, said the deal was a source of hope for children affected by the fighting.  And added that now that the action plan has been signed, he urge the CJTF to fully implement it in order to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children once and for all.”

Press Releases

AHEAD OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE THE NIGERIAN…

As we celebrate the international day of peace, we appeal to the Nigerian government to increase the use of dialogue in internal agitations and conflict resolution and by so doing, develop a sense of joint ownership of the process and become stakeholders in identifying new approaches to address common challenges

Nigeria has experienced a high rate of conflict and civil agitations in recent times. From the insurgency in the northeast where several Nigerian citizens have been killed and others left internally displaced to poor governance, human rights abuses and human rights violations, uneven development, environmental degradation to military invasion of states in the northeast to quell the “insurrection.” The number of violent conflicts increases daily as the government sometimes adopts a posture that shows an unwillingness to engage in dialogue to transform societies and find real solutions to the country’s most complex challenges.

As the world comes together to show its commitment to peace, the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court urges the Nigerian Government to increase the use of dialogue in internal agitations and conflict resolution in Nigeria.

Goal 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, and the provision of access to justice for all. It is high time that our leaders explore the use of dialogue as a means of resolving internal agitations in the country in other to achieve peace.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, practicing a democratic system of government should desist from unusual use of force in addressing internal issues. We as a nation are binded by international obligations and as such should explore reasonable measures to resolve conflicts rather than resort to force at the slightest opportunity. The UN secretary general António Guterres today while addressing the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations Headquarters, announced the creation of a high-level advisory board on mediation. He stressed the need for “a surge in diplomacy today” and “a leap in conflict prevention for tomorrow,” he said that it is possible to move from war to peace and from dictatorship to democracy.  Dialogue is crucial to the maintenance of peace and security and could promote reconciliation in the aftermath of conflict and could also introduce moderate voices into polarized debates,” he added;  “At a time when prejudice and hatred are all too common, when extremists seek new recruits through incitement and identity-based appeal, when politicians use divisiveness as a strategy to win elections — dialogue can be an antidote.”

It is our believe that if the leaders of this great country employ adequate use of dialogue then it will be unnecessary to deploy the military to the east to cause unrest and acts of genocide. Neither will there  be a need for the operation python/crocodile dances amongst others.

 

 

Naomi Emeka

International Criminal Justice Counsel

NCICC

Press Releases

THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE PYTHON DANCE11 BY THE NIGERIAN…

The NCICC  frowns at the illegality and unconstitutionality of the ‘python dance’ instituted by the Nigerian Military  to curb an insurection that does not exist. it is an aberration and a flagrant disregard to the rights of civilians in the country.

Although the President is empowered by virtue of section 217(2) of the Constitution to deploy the armed forces for the “suppression of insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore law order” he cannot exercise the power until there is an insurrection or civil disturbance which cannot be contained by the police. the police by virtue of section 215(3) was created and empowered to maintain peace and public safety, not the army.

Since there was no insurrection in Abia State which the Nigeria Police Force could not contain, the deployment of armed troops by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces cannot be justified in law.

However, if the federal government has evidence of other criminal offences recently committed by Mr. Kanu the Police should have been directed to arrest him and charge him to court without any delay.

“Neither the Constitution nor the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 has empowered the Nigeria Army to arrest any citizen who is not subject to service law.

In  Yussuf v Obasanjo (2005) 18 NWLR (Pt 956) 96 the Court of Appeal held that “It is up to the police to protect our nascent democracy and not the military, otherwise the democracy might be wittingly or unwittingly militarized. This is not what the citizenry bargained for in wrestling power from the military in 1999. Conscious steps should be taken to civilianise the polity to ensure the survival and sustenance of democracy”.

Regrettably, no conscious efforts have been made by the civilian government to demilitarise the country since power was transferred from former military dictators to the civilian wing of the political class in May 1999. Hence, armed soldiers have been allowed to continue to be involved in the maintenance of law and order in all the states of the federation. Up till now, state governments have allowed armed soldiers to remain members of the police anti robbery squads. They have been deployed, from time to time, by the President to deal with the menace of herdsmen and kidnappers. They have just been authorized to deal ruthlessly with civilians who are involved in any form of agitation for self determination.

“There is no legal basis for authorizing the Nigerian army to take over police duties. Even under the defunct military era in Nigeria the military dictators had to declare a state of emergency to legitimize the usurpation of police powers by the armed forces. But under a democratic dispensation the President and Commander-in-chief of the armed forces lacks the power to deploy members of the armed forces in the maintenance of internal security in any part of the country. We may want to recall that in waging  the war on terror in the north east region, a state of emergency was declared by President Jonathan to justify the deployment of members of the armed forces as part of the extraordinary measures required by him to restore law and order pursuant to section 305 of the Constitution. Thereafter, the President sought and obtained the approval of the National Assembly for the said deployment of the armed forces.

The coalition therefore urge Mr President to order the withdrawal of the troops from Abia state and allow the commissioner of police to efficiently dispense his duties.

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Report on The Presidential Panel set up to Investigate…

The Presidential Panel set up by his excellency the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, especially in the local conflict and insurgency situations and also  to investigate alleged human rights violations by the Nigerian Army,  held its inaugural sitting in Abuja on the 11th of September 2017 with Benue indigenes narrating how soldiers helped rampaging herdsmen to attack their communities.
The panel opened for witness account and several witnesses were called to testify. In his testimony, the first petitioners’ witness, Mr. Jacob Kwaghkper, who is a retired Deputy Director with the National Commission for Colleges of Education, told the panel that from 2015 to June 2017, five communities that make up the Moon Valley were subjected to intense, sustained and coordinated attacks by soldiers from the 93 Battalion and herdsmen, leading to the death of 28 people. He told the panel that the herdsmen, with the active support of soldiers, were still occupying ancestral lands of the five communities. Lamenting before the panel, Kwaghkper said: “The soldiers are even providing security for the herdsmen, who are occupying the ancestral lands of the communities. “The displaced people of the communities, who escaped from the series of sustained attacks, have become refugees in Cameroon and internally displaced persons, (IDPs), taking shelter in various places in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, under the watchful eyes of both the Federal and State government without any form of assistance.”

Another witness, Mr. Agbo Utah, told the panel that soldiers watched as herdsmen burnt down his compound. He also narrated how he was beaten, arrested and detained for a week by soldiers who disrupted local government election held in the area in 1998. Demands Aside the narratives, the displaced communities prayed the panel to order immediate restoration of their ancestral lands with adequate compensation. They further want all places     of worship, schools and markets that were destroyed as a result of the attacks by soldiers of the 93 Battalion, Nigerian Army, Takum, Taraba State, and herdsmen, be rebuilt on their original sites.

Shortly after Justice Georgewill, Chairman of the seven-man panel, declared the sitting open, victims who were  residents of Moon Valley communities in Kwande Local Government Area of   Benue State took turns to narrate their experience.    They narrated how about 30,000 persons were displaced by the military from their abode. Represented by their lawyer,        Mr. Mike Utsaha, the community told the panel that while 28 persons were killed in the attack, 91 compounds and property were destroyed.

According to the community, the attack was carried out by the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Takum, Taraba State. The community, through an 18-page memorandum submitted to the panel, stated how following intense and sustained attacks from 2013 to 2015, they were massacred and displaced from their ancestral land by the combined team of soldiers.
The chairman of the probe panel, Justice Biobele Georgewill, said the proceeding will provide a unique opportunity to those that have genuine and verifiable cases of human rights abuses by the Armed Forces, in the course of managing and containing local conflicts and insurgencies, to submit their memoranda.
The panel will hold a public hearing in each of the six Geo-political zones of the country on selected dates and centers.
NCICC Blog

THE NCICC INSTITUTES AN ACTION FOR THE ARRESTS OF…

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.

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The National Coordinator of the NCICC Mr Chino Obiagwu…

Mr Chino Obiagwu   he called on states to explore all legislative, diplomatic and legal avenues to robustly respond to concerns of African states in the ICC system
Mr Chino Obiagwu an insightful human rights activist and the National coordinator of the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court took the floor on the 2nd day of the 15th session of the  Assembly of State Parties. He called on states to explore all legislative, diplomatic and legal avenues to robustly respond to concerns of African States in the ICC systems.
Press Releases

The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court commends…

On Wednesday, the 30th of August 2017, the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and International Development Secretary Priti Patel travelled to Maiduguri, the capital of the north-east state of Borno, which suffered the worst killings by the Islamist terrorist group, including attacks at the university campus to show solidarity with the fight to bring the jihadists under control.

The NCICC commends Patel”s decision to extend a five-year package of help, costing an extra £200m, to prevent 1.5 million people lapsing into famine and help keep a 100,000 boys and girls in education. The development secretary’s package also includes the restoration of key infrastructure and services in the north-east of the country.

In a bid to create an Islamic state in some parts of Nigeria, Lake Chad which spans parts of Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad,the jihadist has committed a large number of human rights and humanitarian law violations in the country by committing acts of genocide and rendering victims displaced. that is why the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court is rigorously advocating for the domestication of the Rome statute to enable Nigeria try and punish crimes against humanity, impunity crimes and genocide.

Johnson said: “Boko Haram has generated suffering, instability and poverty on a huge scale, with profound knock-on effects far from Nigeria’s borders.”

He met survivors of Boko Haram violence, including bomb and gunshot victims, and saw for himself the displacement of people created by the conflict. It gained notoriety by abducting more than 200 girls from the north-east Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014.
Some of the girls kidnapped were  forced to wear traditional Islamic clothing.

Johnson, said he was proud of the help the UK was providing: “This is about helping a Commonwealth partner in its time of need as well as addressing the root causes of international challenges such as migration.”

Patel said: “It is catastrophic that at least 20,000 people have been murdered by Boko Haram’s terrorist regime, and over 5 million people have been left hungry and many homeless. Babies’ bodies are shutting down and mothers who have lost everything are fighting to keep their children alive.”

 

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Sidiki Kaba, President of the Assembly of States Parties…

In a recent government reorganization that took place in Senegal, H.E. Mr. Sidiki Kaba the former Senegalese Minister of Justice and Keeper of Seals has been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal. Sidiki Kaba thus adds these important roles to his current position as President of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court. his tenure  which began in December 2014 and was stated to run from the thirteenth to sixteenth sessions of the Assembly, until December 2017.  Mr kaba is binded by the principle that  There is no immunity for the highest political and military leaders.

The Nigerian coalition for the international criminal court congratulates Mr Sidika Kaba on his appointment as the minister of foreign affairs in Senegal knowing fully well the indispensable role he played in kick-starting the  dialogue to rebuild trust between African states on the one hand and the ICC organs and European states on the other.

Minister Kaba’s work plan as President of the ASP has so far focused on the relationship between Africa and the ICC, cooperation with the court, complementarity and universality of the Rome Statute. He participated in the 1998 negotiations of the Rome Statute and thereafter implemented numerous campaigns to promote the ratification of the Statute by Senegal and many other African countries.