The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) sends our warmest congratulations to Judge Chile Eboe Osuji on his election as the President of the International Criminal Court. (ICC) He was elected during a plenary siting of Judges of the ICC on the 11th of March 2018. His tenure is to last for three years.
The International Criminal Court remains the last resort for victims of international crimes and the Presidency being the arm that oversees the registry and organizes the work of judicial decisions, plays an indispensable role in that regard.
The NCICC calls on the newly elected President to expand his leadership role and work closely with the Nigerian government in ensuring that perpetrators of the most heinous crimes are brought to book and reparations for victims highly considered. Nigeria was listed to be on phase 3 of the preliminary investigation stage by the Office of the trial Prosecutor in her annual report in December 2017 having identified eight potential cases involving commission of Crimes against humanity and genocide in 2015.
The NCICC also urges President Eboe-Osuji to give priority to improving the relationship between African governments and people with the Court, in particular, reaching out to the African Union and individual African State Parties. The Court should increase its outreach and communications with the African civil society organisations, victims communities and the African population in order to disseminate the good work of the Court in Africa.
In particular, the Court should dialogue constructively and frankly with the African Union towards opening a liaison office in Addis Ababa, and supporting the African governments in their national efforts to improve the justice system to fight impunity.
The Court should also consider constructive discussions on the proposed initiative to create the criminal chamber of the forthcoming African Court of Justice and Human Rights, represented in the Malabo Protocol, as well as special judicial proceedings of the African Union in order to deepen the complementarity obligations under the Rome Statute of the ICC.
NCICC draws attention of the President to the new Network for Civil Society on International Justice in Africa, made up of national coalitions on the ICC and civil society coalitions in 52 African countries, who are working to promote justice and fight impunity in Africa. This network provides platform for constructive outreach to African people, and for raising civil society support for the Court in Africa.
Finally, we urge the President to open the Forum of African Group in the Assembly of State Parties in order to improve closer relationship and understanding between African governments and the ICC’
We wish the President a very successful tenure and will always be available for support.
Dr Abiola Akiode-Afolabi
Press release: 17th October 2017
The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) expresses deep concern at the ongoing mass trial of the Boko Haram suspects.
Over 1600 Boko Haram suspects are being detained in Niger state and SECRET trial is going on.
We commend the Attorney General of the Federation for taking the initiative to ensure that justice is served to the many victims of gross human rights abuses and severe crimes alleged to have been committed by the Boko Haram sect.
However, it is pertinent that due process is followed in the course of administering justice. Section 36 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended provides for fair trial for all Nigerian citizens. Public hearing is a yardstick for free and fair trial which forms a fundamental principle of Natural justice so it is quite disturbing that the trial of the Boko Haram suspect is being done privately.
NCICC maintains that accelerated/secret hearing in criminal matters of this nature is not advisable as it may present a glitch in the administration of justice. Suspects must be afforded the opportunity to be represented by a legal practitioner of their choice and lawyers must be given reasonable time to prepare their defense. It is important that all the antecedents of criminal trials be upheld as they are mere suspects and have to be proven guilty or otherwise.
NCICC call on Judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers to get involved in the prosecution of the suspects. Lawyers should be given adequate time and facilities to prepare for and ensure fair trial of the suspects.
NCICC Calls on the Attorney General of the Federation to ensure open trials and adequate protection of witnesses, we urge the judiciary to designate more judges and assign these cases to them. There is no way four judges can do justice to 1600 cases. It will take them a decade to do so.
Finally we appeal to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to provide more pro bono defence counsel because the Legal Aid Council is so thinly staffed and poorly funded to be able to give quality legal defence to 1600 defendants.
Chair, Steering Committee
Released date: October 11th ,2017
As the world commemorates the international Day of the girl child with the theme “Empower Girls”, the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court joins the rest of the world to recognize this special day. The NCICC continues to contribute to the development of the Nigerian woman and indeed the girl child by advocating for access to justice for all, an end to sexual and gender based violence and all contemporary forms of slavery in Nigeria.
Sexual violence and contemporary forms of slavery which includes; early marriage and child marriages are perhaps the most disturbing of girls’ rights violation in the country. The NCICC urges the Nigerian government to make maximum efforts in ensuring access to justice for girls in the society. Every child, and particularly girls, have the right to freedom from all forms of violence. It is an international legal obligation, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty.
In compliance with article 7 of the Rome statute, the NCICC, whose major priority is to advocate for the domestication of the Rome statute in Nigeria, has embarked on several sensitization projects to promote gender equality and put an end to early marriage, child marriage and all other forms of contemporary slavery prevalent in Nigeria most especially the North eastern part of Nigeria.
The NCICC strongly supports the position of the “Global initiative” to end violence against Children and build a better future for all. We call on the government to tear down the barriers that continue to hold girls back and to fully harness innovations, set economic empowerment programmes to reach poor and marginalized girls and ensure education for young girls and boys reach every part of the country. We advocate strongly for improved quality of education for all. On this day we also remember the Chibok school girls who are still in captivity, expressing solidarity with their families and strongly appealing to the Nigerian government not to relent in its efforts to rescue them even as we hope to build a better future for our girls and children in the diaspora.
The NCICC therefore urges the government to use the values of the United Nations to form a space where all children can safely thrive and develop to their full potential.
Chair, steering Committee
Cameroon’s military has carried out a mass forced return of 100,000 Nigerian asylum seekers in an effort to stem the spread of Boko Haram, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Wednesday.
The deportations defy the UN refugee agency’s plea not to return anyone to northeast Nigeria “until the security and human rights situation has improved considerably,” and leaves deportees facing spiralling violence, displacement and destitution.
The 55-page report, “‘They Forced Us Onto Trucks Like Animals’: Cameroon’s Mass Forced Return and Abuse of Nigerian Refugees,” documents that since early 2015, Cameroonian soldiers have tortured, assaulted, and sexually exploited Nigerian asylum seekers in remote border areas, denied them access to the UN refugee agency, and summarily deported, often violently, tens of thousands to Nigeria. It also documents violence, poor conditions, and unlawful movement restrictions in Cameroon’s only official camp for Nigerian refugees, as well as conditions recent returnees face in Nigeria.
“The Cameroonian military’s torture and abuse of Nigerian refugees and asylum seekers seems to be driven by an arbitrary decision to punish them for Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon and to discourage Nigerians from seeking asylum,” said Gerry Simpson, associate refugee director at Human Rights Watch. “Cameroon should heed the UN’s call on all countries to protect refugees fleeing the carnage in northeast Nigeria, not return them there.”
In late June and July 2017, Human Rights Watch interviewed 61 asylum seekers and refugees in Nigeria about the abuses they faced in Cameroon. They said soldiers had accused them of belonging to Boko Haram, a Nigerian militant Islamist group, or of being “Boko Haram wives” while torturing or assaulting them and dozens of others on arrival, during their stay in remote border areas, and during mass deportations. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it has heard similar accounts from Nigerians living in Cameroon’s border areas.
Some said their children, weakened after living for months or years without adequate food and medical care in border areas, died during or just after the deportations, and others said children were separated from their parents.
An asylum seeker who was deported from Mora in March 2017 described how without warning, Cameroonian soldiers rounded up 40 asylum seekers “and severely beat us and forced us onto a bus. They beat some of the men so badly, they were heavily bleeding. When we got to the Nigerian border they shouted ‘Go and die in Nigeria.’”
Refugees who reached Cameroon’s only designated camp for Nigerian refugees, in Minawao, have also faced violence from Cameroonian soldiers. While they have some protection as refugees, the approximately 70,000 people there have had limited access to food and water and abusive restrictions on their movement. In April and May, 13,000 returned from Minawao to a displacement camp in Banki, just across the border in Nigeria. Some were killed in early September when Boko Haram attacked the camp.
Although UNHCR does not have reliable access to most of Cameroon’s border areas with Nigeria, in early June it said its monitoring partners found Cameroon had forcibly returned almost 100,000 Nigerians to their country since January 2015. In late June, the Nigerian authorities responded to Cameroonian pressure by sending military vehicles over the border to help Cameroon deport almost 1,000 asylum seekers. That made Nigeria complicit in the unlawful forced return of its own citizens.
Tens of thousands of deportees from Cameroon end up in insecure militarized displacement camps or villages in Borno State, where conditions are dire, and women and girls face sexual exploitation. These sites are surrounded by the ongoing conflict between Nigeria’s armed forces and Boko Haram, which as of mid-September had displaced almost 2 million other Nigerian civilians.
Cameroon’s forced returns are a breach of the principle of nonrefoulement, which prohibits the forcible return of refugees and asylum seekers to persecution and, under regional standards in Africa, to situations of generalized violence, such as in northeast Nigeria.
Since 2014, Cameroonian armed forces have carried out operations against Boko Haram in the country’s Far North Region. Cameroon has the right to regulate the presence of non-nationals on its territory, including those proven to be threat to its national security. The authorities also have an obligation to carefully investigate attacks in Cameroon by suspected Boko Haram members. However, it may not block refugees from seeking asylum and summarily deport them.
After staying publicly silent on the situation for two years, in late March, UNHCR publicly criticised the authorities for their mass forced refugee returns. The criticism was triggered by deportations after Cameroon had signed an agreement that month with Nigeria and UNHCR confirming that it would ensure that all refugee return was voluntary.
As of mid-September, the Cameroonian authorities had allowed UNHCR only to pre-register asylum seekers in some border communities, leaving those pre-registered and tens of thousands of other asylum seekers without access to meaningful protection and putting them at risk of deportation.
The Cameroonian authorities deny any forced return or abuse of Nigerian asylum seekers and have not replied to a Human Rights Watch request for a response to the report’s findings. Cameroon has had a reputation as a generous country toward refugees since the early 1970s and it has hosted tens and then hundreds of thousands of refugees since then.
“Faced with overwhelming evidence of mass refugee abuse and UN condemnation, Cameroon is trying to bury its head in the sand,” Simpson said. “But returning tens of thousands of Nigerians to harm and destitution will only further shred its well-deserved reputation as a generous refugee-hosting country.” culled from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/244317-cameroon-torture-abuse-forcefully-return-thousands-nigerian-refugees-hrw.html
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.
International Criminal Justice Counsel
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.
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.”
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.
PRESS RELEASE, August 7 2017
On Friday, 3 August 2017, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo announced the establishment of a 7 man Judicial Commission headed by Justice Biobele A. Georgewill of the court of appeal, to review compliance of the Nigerian Armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, especially in local conflict and insurgency situations.
The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) commends this move by the Federal Government, which will finally see to the impartial investigation of the Nigerian Military for alleged human rights violations, and any other alleged acts of international humanitarian and human rights law committed on Nigerian soil. This move is a step closer to Nigeria’s fulfilment of international obligations under international law, to not only prevent violations of atrocity crimes, but see to justice for victims across the country.
In recent years, NCICC has collated detailed information from thousands of these victims, who have suffered severe violations of human rights and serious abuses of humanitarian laws in North-Eastern Nigeria by the Military. We therefore stand by the government in its efforts and express our availability to work with the Judicial Commission to meet its targets. As always, NCICC urges the Federal Government to continue unwaveringly in this path to bring to justice all perpetrators of crimes under international law, and other serious violations of human rights in conflict situations in Nigeria.