The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has written a petition to International Criminal Court (ICC), demanding the prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, 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 also 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.”
The petition dated October 21 which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, urged the ICC to 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 and invite representatives of the Nigerian government and the military to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the Court to allow the Prosecutor conclude whether there is a reasonable basis for an investigation.
The group also asked ICC to bring justice to those suspected to be responsible for widespread and systematic attacks on peaceful protesters across the country and urge the Nigerian government to fulfill its obligations under the Rome Statute to cooperate with the ICC; including complying with requests to arrest and surrender suspected perpetrators of the widespread and systematic crime of violence against peaceful protesters and provide other support to the ICC;
It further asked ICC to 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.
SERAP 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. 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.
“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.
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,” the petition read.
SERAP expressed the belief that violence against protesters gives rise to individual criminal responsibility of those suspected of perpetrating and/or failing to address the problem. as entrenched in the Rome Statute.
Source: Nigeria Tribune, SERAP