Alleged War Crimes: Army Denies Purported Indictment By ICC

Nigerian Army Spokesman, Sani Usman speaks on ICC indictment following allegations by Amnesty International

 

The Nigerian Army on Thursday reacted to allegations of potential war crimes levelled against it, insisting there is no credible evidence to back such claims.

It also denied the purported indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with regard to the allegations.

Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, said that contrary to reports in some corners, army personnel in the North-East have been professional in their conduct.

He said, “There are two things to it, one, they are accusing the army of not trying high-level Boko Haram terrorist, that is beyond the Nigerian military. Then secondly, if again the government is shielding some Nigerian military officers, again it is beyond the Nigerian military.”

Brigadier General Usman’s comments come on the back of fresh accusations by Amnesty International that the army was, among other things, shielding senior officers who misuse power in the course of prosecuting the Boko Haram war.

In a statement on Monday, Amnesty International called on the ICC to investigate the allegations against the army.

But the army spokesperson believes the allegations won’t stand scrutiny.

“The truth is that we have gone through this time and time again, but Amnesty International has been in the vanguard against the Nigerian military without credible evidence,” he said.

Speaking on the situation of things in the northeast, Sani said the region is calm, though relatively unstable.

Reacting to recent activities by the Boko Haram terrorists, he said, “The military is responding adequately to all threats posed by the insurgents within the region.

“Just last week, there was re-strategizing and injection of new commanders. So I can assure you that the situation is being normalised and becoming stable.”

Usman added that all claims regarding officers not being properly taken care of are false. According to him; the troops are in good spirit to see the war to a victorious end.

“Nobody is being owed any allowances, once they come they are always paid as at when due,” he said.

Mass Looting: Femi Falana Responds To Okonjo-Iweala’s Statement

Okonjo-Iweala-Femi-FalanaA human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, pushing for the prosecution of corrupt government officials in Nigeria has decried what he called an attack on his person by Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, after he lodged a request for investigation of former public officers with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a response to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s statement, Mr Falana said he was being attacked by the former Minister for having the temerity to request the ICC to investigate the crimes against humanity committed by some former public officers who bear full responsibility for the atrocities perpetrated by the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

The Lagos State based lawyer had requested for investigation into the allegations of crimes against humanity committed by serving and retired military officers and their civilian accomplices.

He claimed that the government officials had diverted over $8 billion earmarked for the procurement of arms and armament for counter insurgency operations.

“I argued that the suspects who aided and abetted the dreaded Boko Haram sect in the barbaric killing of over 25 soldiers and civilians including children and the displacement of two million people ought to be prosecuted at the ICC.

“Her [Okojo-Iweala] baseless attack is not unusual as she is always quick to deflect criticisms by accusing anyone seeking to hold her to account for her appalling records in government of ulterior political motives,” Mr Falana stated.

He further claimed that when Professor Chukwuma Soludo alleged that about N30 trillion could not be accounted for under Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s watch he was described as “an embittered loser in the Nigerian political space”.

“When Comrade Adams Oshiomole questioned the illegal withdrawal of $2 billion from the Excess Crude Account, he was accused of having animus towards her because she had blocked Edo State from obtaining a loan. Therefore, instead of exchanging vulgar abuse with the former Minister I shall respond to the diversionary allegations which lacerated her response and the attempt to extricate herself from the mass looting of the commonwealth under her watch,” he explained..

The lawyer further took a swipe on the former Minister saying that “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has continued to give the erroneous impression that she rendered selfless service to the nation. But while her colleagues who served as Ministers under President Olusegun Obasanjo were paid their salaries and allowances in the local currency she received hers in dollars despite a judgment of the Court of Appeal which had declared the payment illegal and unconstitutional in the case of Fawehinmi v The President (2007) 14 NWLR (Pt 1054) 275.

“In order to weep up sentiments Dr. Okonjo-Iweala referred to the unfortunate kidnap of her 84-year mother, two years ago. But it is public knowledge that the lumpen elements involved in the kidnap were arrested by the Lagos State Police Command,” he said.

Mr Falana further reiterated that his petitions to the anti-graft agencies and the Special Prosecutor of the ICC were anchored on law and facts without personal interest.

He stated that it was done to further push the ongoing battle to end impunity and retrieve the looted wealth of the nation from corrupt elements and institutions.

See full text of Mr Femi Falana’s response to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s earlier statement below. 
MASS LOOTING: FEMI FALANA’S REJOINDER TO DR. NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA’S REPONSE TO ICC PETITION

In my application to the Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) last week, I requested for investigation into the allegations of crimes against humanity committed by serving and retired military officers and their civilian accomplices. Having diverted over $8 billion earmarked for the procurement of arms and armament for counter insurgency operations I argued that the suspects who aided and abetted the dreaded Boko Haram sect in the barbaric killing of over 25 soldiers and civilians including children and the displacement of 2 million people ought to be prosecuted at the ICC. However, for having the temerity to request the ICC to investigate the crimes against humanity committed by some former public officers who bear full responsibility for the atrocities perpetrated by the terrorist group Dr. Okonjo-Iweala resorted to the scurrilous attack of my person.

Her baseless attack is not unusual as she is always quick to deflect criticisms by accusing anyone seeking to hold her to account for her appalling records in government of ulterior political motives. When Professor Chukwuma Soludo alleged that about N30 trillion could not be accounted for under her watch he was described as “an embittered loser in the Nigerian political space.” When Comrade Adams Oshiomole questioned the illegal withdrawal of $2 billion from the Excess Crude Account, he was accused of having animus towards her because she had blocked Edo State from obtaining a loan. Therefore, instead of exchanging vulgar abuse with the former Minister I shall respond to the diversionary allegations which lacerated her response and the attempt to extricate herself from the mass looting of the commonwealth under her watch.

The claim that I am unfamiliar with the mandate of the ICC shows that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala has not been following the practice of the court and its active and robust approach to its mandates, in particular with regard to the investigation of crimes in Darfur, the warrant of arrest for Joseph Kony (Uganda), and the warrant of arrest for Ahmad Harun, (Sudan). In many decided cases, the ICC has expanded its mandate to humanitarian issues, aimed at forestalling and impeding the perpetration of crimes which cause gross human rights abuse. There is absolutely nothing in the Rome Statute of the ICC to suggest that the court cannot address impunity for enormous financial crimes (and its crippling impact) which took place while Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was the Finance Minister and the Coordinating Minister of the economy.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s claim that I own the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is far-fetched and laughable. A simple google search would have shown her that while I am one of the legal advisers of the organization, there are other very distinguished lawyers and academics of international repute on SERAP’s board. Her claim that SERAP is ‘discredit’ is the exact opposite of reckless characterization because it is an organization that has won national and international recognitions—including nomination for the UN civil society award; the Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award; and the Wole Soyinka Anti-Corruption Defender Award.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also claimed that my petition against her to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) “were lacking in credibility”, without any substantiation of what this means or specific rebuttal of the allegations contained in that petition. She has however not denied the accuracy of the claims in my petition. Whereas the former Finance Minister had insisted that only $500 million was recovered from the Abacha loot my petition detailed the recovery of $4 billion. As she could not challenge my claim Dr. Okonjo-Iweala now says that the $500 million was the amount recovered while she was the Minister of Finance under President Obasanjo. In making that claim she did not take cognizance of her recent statement that while she gave out $322 million to Col. Dasuki the sum of $700 million had been set aside for development. From her own account, over $1 billion was recovered from the loot under the Jonathan regime when she was coordinating the economy.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala should have also provided further explanations as to why a substantial part of the Abacha loot was criminally diverted under her watch, especially in light of her confessional statement that she transferred $322m from the Abacha loot to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to prosecute the war on terror. Apart from the said $322m, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also released £5.5m to Dasuki. Even on this ground alone, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala cannot plausibly claim not to have anything to do with the arms procurement scandal. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s excuse that the said $322m was released due to the urgency of the crisis in the North-East region is untenable having regard to the fact that former President Jonathan had sought the approval of the National Assembly to take a loan of $1bn to equip the armed forces to fight insurgency. Therefore, her self-induced urgency is not a justification for spending public funds without appropriation.
In the course of my defending several military officers and soldiers who were charged before court-martial for demanding weapons to fight the terrorists I confirmed that the $1 billion loan for arms procurement. I was compelled to request Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for an inventory of the military equipment purchased with the $1 billion loan. The requested inventory was made available to me as the weapons were not purchased.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has continued to give the erroneous impression that she rendered selfless service to the nation. But while her colleagues who served as Ministers under President Olusegun Obasanjo were paid their salaries and allowances in the local currency she received hers in dollars despite a judgment of the Court of Appeal which had declared the payment illegal and unconstitutional in the case of Fawehinmi v The President (2007) 14 NWLR (Pt 1054) 275. In order to weep up sentiments Dr. Okonjo-Iweala referred to the unfortunate kidnap of her 84-year mother, two years ago. But it is public knowledge that the lumpen elements involved in the kidnap were arrested by the Lagos State Police Command. From the report of police investigation the kidnappers were palace guards who were inspired by sheer avarice. In fact, they were arrested by the Police following the disagreement over the sharing of the N12 million ransom paid to them for the criminal enterprise.

The most ludicrous of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala sweeping and jejune allegation is that some “corrupt elements” are using me as a tool. Although the allegation is without factual support it is illogical, to say the least. My request that the disbursement of the Abacha loot be investigated is further buttressed by the fact that the $500m Dr. Okonjo-Iweala claimed was spent on development projects was also not appropriated by the National Assembly, contrary to constitutional provisions. However, I have asked the EFCC to discountenance the 700-page report of the World Bank which has listed some phantom projects executed with the $500 million.

In the Appropriation Act of 2011, the sum of N245 billion was budgeted for fuel subsidy. But at the end of the year, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala had authorized the illegal payment of about N2.5 trillion to a cabal of fuel importers. As usual, she washed off her hands like Pontius Pilate. In order to unearth the monumental fraud I petitioned the EFCC and gave oral testimony before the House of Representatives Committee which separately investigated it. In the same vein, I have just asked the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation under the Freedom of Information Act to provide information on the failure of the NNPC to pay into the Federation Account the sum of $9.7 billion out of the $11.8 billion dividends paid by NLNG from 2004-2014. I have equally demanded information from the NEITI over its claim that the NNPC and some oil companies are indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of $19.1 billion.

Finally, let me make it abundantly clear that my petitions to the anti graft agencies and the Special Prosecutor of the ICC were anchored on law and facts as there is nothing personal in the ongoing battle to end impunity and retrieve the looted wealth of the nation from corrupt elements and institutions. It is my belief that the recovered loot should be channeled towards job creation and infrastructural development. Therefore, all hands should be on deck to ensure that the recovered loot is not criminally diverted by another set of looters .

PDP Replies APC On Boko Haram Sponsorship

Boko HaramThe People’s Democratic Party is not taking the statement by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress on the backers of insurgents in Nigeria lying down.

Less than 24-hours after John Oyegun accused the PDP and its leadership of knowing the sponsors of Boko Haram, the PDP has condemned the APC leader’s accusation, saying the statement is completely lacking in validity, character and intellectual content befitting of a National Chairman of a political party.

The PDP, in a press statement released on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said that Mr Oyegun has succeeded in further exposing the desperation of the APC to launder its image through renewed propaganda and blackmail.

The PDP further said “Nigerians have since noted the pattern and timing of violent attacks against our people which betray a trend tailored against the PDP and the Federal Government and provide impetus for the APC to find a voice and thrive.

“They know that it has become a recurring decimal that whenever the PDP or the Federal Government records or is about to record a major milestone, insurgents launch attacks on the people”

The PDP, however, advised the APC to be nationalistic in its dealings and shun statements of divisive tendencies.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, had, on Tuesday, challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to act decisively and hand two alleged sponsors of the Boko Haram group to the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, for investigation and prosecution.

The party said that a foreign negotiator engaged by the Federal Government had revealed that a former governor and a retired General were sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.

Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, who made the disclosure, insisted that the APC was not behind the Boko Haram sect and demanded that the Federal Government should act immediately to end the growing insecurity in the North-East.

Mr Oyegun, who was speaking during a press conference in Abuja, further noted that “Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing.”

APC Challenges Jonathan To Handover Alleged Boko Haram Sponsors To ICC

John_OyegunThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to act decisively and hand two alleged sponsors of the Boko Haram group to the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, for investigation and prosecution.

The party said that a foreign negotiator engaged by the Federal Government had revealed that a former governor and a retired General were sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.

Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, who made this disclosure, insisted that the APC was not behind the Boko Haram sect and demanded that the Federal Government should act now to end the growing insecurity in the North-East.

Mr Oyegun, who was speaking during a press conference in Abuja, further noted that “Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing.

“President Jonathan cannot pretend not to know the alleged role that Ali Modu Sheriff has played in the establishment and growth of Boko Haram, yet he never allowed the man to even be questioned by any of the security agencies under his control.”

The APC further noted that they have been “vindicated” adding that “we have no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency. The raison d’etre of our party is the well-being and security of Nigerians

“The sponsors of Boko Haram are within the PDP and the Presidency. They are known friends of President Jonathan. He knows them and they know him.

“The man who exposed these Boko Haram sponsors is a Jonathan-appointed Negotiator. He has no axe to grind, neither does he have any motive to shield the APC or portray the PDP/Presidency in bad light. In fact, if he had any sympathy at all, it is for the man who hired him, President Jonathan.”

Below is the full text of Mr Oyegun.

Finally, The Truth Is Out!

Good afternoon Gentlemen of the press, and thank you for honouring my invitation to this press conference.

Before I address you today, kindly permit me to play the full interview of Dr. Stephen Davis, the Australian negotiator who was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to help secure the release of the over 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram on April 15th.

The interview was aired on Arise Television on Thursday Aug. 28th.
INTERLUDE: PLAY VIDEO
Thank you for your patience, gentlemen.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) like many well-meaning Nigerians had resolved long ago that the issue of the Boko Haram insurgency should not be politicized. In view of this, the APC expressed its willingness and readiness to cooperate with the Federal Government in neutralizing the insurgency. Regrettably however, instead of accepting this offer of cooperation, the PDP-Federal Government has consistently pointed accusing fingers at our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the sponsor of Boko Haram. They have called us all sorts of derogatory names, but failed to provide any shred of evidence to support their claim.

It has been very clear to us that the vehemence and persistence of this accusation, the deliberate distortion of statements made by our leaders to paint us as Boko Haram sponsors and the way the PDP-led Federal Government has gone to hire foreign PR firms, at a huge cost to taxpayers, as well as foreign and local hack writers to push this narrative, they were struggling hard to cover up something. We waited patiently knowing that the truth will one day surface.

In a rare moment of truth, a top official of the Jonathan Administration, no less a personality than the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, situated the Boko Haram problem within the PDP. Shortly thereafter he was fired, and he later died in controversial circumstances. Still we waited.

They distorted and misrepresented the statements made by our leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to try to convince the world that he was indeed the main sponsor of Boko Haram. They continued to echo the same slander about Gen. Buhari that was started by Presidential Spokesman Reuben Abati in 2011, and for which he and his cohorts eventually begged to settle out of court and to apologize to the General. Still we waited.

When their attempt to link Gen. Buhari with Boko Haram failed, as his popularity among ordinary Nigerians continued to soar, he was suddenly attacked by suicide bombers. Those who planned the attack believed this as the final solution to what they perceived as the threat he represents to the realization of their ambition. By the grace of God, he survived. We do not claim to know those who attacked him, but we do know those who provided the atmosphere for that attack to take place. Still we waited.

When the government declared a state of emergency in three worst-hit states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in 2013, thousands of troops were deployed to the three states. But the unusual happened. The number of attacks simply skyrocketed. It is common knowledge that in any territory that has been placed under a state of emergency, the military takes charge of security, erecting checkpoints as part of efforts to keep a tab on security. Such was the situation in Borno in April 2014, when over 200 girls were abducted and driven away in many trucks. Soldiers posted to a nearby checkpoint were said to have withdrawn shortly before the attack. Who ordered their withdrawal? Some of the trucks in which the girls were being carted away broke down, yet no one challenged them. Despite this bizarre occurrence, they refused to accept responsibility and continued to cast aspersion on our Party, the APC, as the sponsor of Boko Haram. Still we waited.

Boko Haram routinely enriched their arsenal with tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers, guns, trucks and other military equipment which they seized from the Army. From the videos they release from time to time, one could see Boko Haram insurgents driving around unchallenged in convoys of up to 60 vehicles made-up of tanks and other military vehicles they seized from our military, in a territory that is under a state of emergency. What is happening? No one could fathom it. Still we waited.

A man known to all as the kingpin of Boko Haram, a man who helped to arm them so he could win elections and decimate his opponents, was moving around with the best security ever. He is a known ally of the President and he is not known to be under any immunity. Yet he was never arrested or even questioned. Still we waited.

In line with a Yoruba adage that says when a drum starts sounding too hard, it is about to burst, the PDP and the Presidency ratcheted up their attacks on our party, labelling us as Boko Haram sponsors. They hired a foreign firm, Levick, for US$1.2 million in taxpayers’ money, as well as a number of out-of-luck hack writers and pseudo analysts, one of them from Russia, to help push the narrative. Still we waited.

Then their drum exploded!

Dr. Stephen Davis, a man hired by the President Jonathan-led Federal Government to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of the Chibok girls decided to speak out, believing the best way to tackle the insurgency is to expose the sponsors. And who are they? On international television last Thursday, and as you have just seen and heard, he named former Borno Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and a former Army Chief, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, as the sponsors of Boko Haram.

Prodded by Sahara Reporters in a subsequent interview on whether Gen. Buhari and Malam Nasir el-Rufai were sponsors, he said the Boko Haram commanders who gave him the names of their sponsors did not mention their names. The die is cast. The truth is finally out! Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing. His myriad of intelligence agencies, including the DSS and the DMI, cannot pretend they do not have any information on these men.

It is true that Ali Modu Sheriff was, until recently, a member of our Party. But the Party always suspected that he was a mole, planted to hijack or at best weaken the new Party for the PDP. He is not new to that role. He helped to decimate his former party, the ANPP, to an extent that the number of states under its control fell from seven in 2003 to three by the time he left as Governor.

We know for sure that Ali Modu Sheriff was planted in the APC to help decimate our party. We confronted him openly during the merger negotiation but he denied vigorously. His surrogate for the post of the Chairman of the APC, Chief Tom Ikimi together with whom they planned to hijack the Party for the Presidency was firmly rejected. Realizing they have failed, they fled our party and returned to where they came from, and were duly embraced by their controllers.

President Jonathan cannot pretend not to know the alleged role that Ali Modu Sheriff has played in the establishment and growth of Boko Haram, yet he never allowed the man to even be questioned by any of the security agencies under his control. All through his time with our Party, every time they accused us of sponsoring Boko Haram, on the basis of his presence, we challenged them if they had evidence to arrest any of our members who is suspected to be a sponsor, they never did. They dared not, because Sheriff was their agent. Even if he had remained in the APC after we democratically encouraged him to go, they would still not have arrested him.

Recall, gentlemen, that immediately Sheriff went back to the PDP, the Maiduguri Airport that had been closed to even the pilgrims from the state on grounds of security, was re-opened specially for him. What more evidence does anyone need that Sheriff was and remains President Jonathan’s Man Friday?

Our Stand

The truth is finally out. We have been vindicated. We have no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency. The raison d’etre of our party is the well-being and security of Nigerians

The sponsors of Boko Haram are within the PDP and the Presidency. They are known friends of President Jonathan. He knows them and they know him.

The man who exposed these Boko Haram sponsors is a Jonathan-appointed Negotiator. He has no axe to grind, neither does he have any motive to shield the APC or portray the PDP/Presidency in bad light. In fact, if he had any sympathy at all, it is for the man who hired him, President Jonathan.

We have said it all along. Boko Haram was politicized purely for one reason, and one reason only: To be used as a trump card for President Jonathan to win another term. For that strategy to work, the APC, which they see as the only stumbling block to the PDP’s victory in 2015, must be maligned and labeled. Gullible, duplicitous and self-serving politicians like Femi Fani-Kayode swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker, and started parroting the glaring lies. PDP Spokesman, Olisa Metuh, an obvious pawn on the chess board, followed suit, labelling a party that comprises Nigerians of all ethnic and religious hue a Janjaweed and Islamic party. Now he is stewing in his own juice.

In the process of this dangerous politics, the Nigerian military which was globally acclaimed for its impressive showings at various peacekeeping missions around the world, simply suffered collateral damage. Apparently, fifth columnists in the military has sold the force out, first by denying it of the necessary fighting tools and then weakening it to such an extent that even the little it had was being taken away daily by insurgents. When the patriotic Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno tried to raise the issue of the poorly-equipped troops and their low morale, he was roundly pilloried. Now the world knows why!

Now that the cat has been let out of the bag and the real sponsors of Boko Haram have been exposed, we hope President Jonathan will summon the courage to do the right thing: Hand over the identified Boko Haram sponsors to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation and prosecution.

There is no doubt that Boko Haram has committed crimes against humanity in its scorched-earth campaign against unharmed citizens, and the most appropriate body to investigate and try the sect’s sponsors is the ICC.

According to Article 17 of the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, and to which Nigeria is signatory, the ICC is a court of last resort, expected to exercise its jurisdiction only if states themselves are unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate and prosecute international crimes.

In view of the fact that the alleged Boko Haram sponsors are either members of the ruling party or friends of the President, it is clear that the PDP-led Federal Government is unwilling and unable to try them, hence our call.

Nigerians can rest assured that the APC will not allow this issue to be swept under the carpet.

Now that it is clear that the PDP is behind Boko Haram for the sole purpose of winning next year’s Presidential Election, Nigerians must prevail on the PDP and the Presidency to urgently end this insurgency and the daily killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians!

The President must remember that he is the Commander-in-Chief! The buck stops on his desk. He must now do all it takes to stop the growing mess in our nation’s North-East.

Nigerians expect no less!

Falana Asks UK To Facilitate Referral Of Israel To ICC Over Gaza

Femi-FalanaHuman rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has written to British Prime Minister, David Cameron, seeking the investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court for unlawful killings and destruction of civilian property in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Falana urged Prime Minister Cameron to use the Kingdom’s position as President of the United Nation’s Security Council for the month f August, to refer Israel to the court.

“I am writing to request that you use your good offices and position to urgently facilitate the referral of Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order for the court to investigate allegations of the unlawful killings and destruction of property perpetrated by Israel against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and West Bank” he said.

Falana further noted that since Israel “ has not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the only way the court will be able to exercise jurisdiction over Israel is by a referral by the Security Council, pursuant to article 13, paragraph (b) of the Rome Statute”.

In a letter made available to Channels Television, Mr Falana further noted that “this referral will also provide an important opportunity for the court to investigate any allegations of international crimes committed by all parties—whether involved directly or indirectly—in the ongoing armed conflict” adding that he  has “followed very closely the conflict and has no doubt that international humanitarian law, which aims principally to protect civilian population is breached with an almost absolute impunity by Israel”.

The letter noted that “the breach of international humanitarian law is illustrated by the failure to differentiate between military targets and civilians and civilian structures, and the clear intentional and deliberate attacks on civilians or civilian objects in particular, homes, medical facilities, and schools. I should mention that so far there is no evidence that such homes, medical facilities and schools are being used for military purposes. Therefore, there cannot be any justifications for such attacks including the wanton killing of children.

“I therefore urge you to urgently work with other members of the Security Council to ensure referral of Israel to the ICC over alleged international crimes as outlined above. In the meantime, the UK will do well to suspend all transfers of weapons, munitions and other military equipment and technology to Israel so it is not used to continue to perpetrate serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”, he said.

He also drew the attention of the British government to the fact that “leaders of some African countries who did not commit such grave crimes against humanity were indicted by the International Criminal Court”, insisting that it will be “in the best interest of justice and international accountability that the UK exercises strong leadership to end the vicious cycle of violence and impunity of perpetrators in the Gaza Strip and West Bank”, he added.

Al-Bashir’s Visit To Nigeria Angers Rights Group

Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir arrived in Nigeria on Sunday for an African Union summit on HIV/AIDS as his hosts chose to ignore an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against him.

Bashir, accused of masterminding genocide and other atrocities during Sudan’s Darfur conflict, which has left some 200,000 people dead, in theory risks arrest if he travels to one of the more than 120 states including Nigeria that have signed up to the ICC.

He has been refused trips to Uganda, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia in the past because of his indictment. This is his first trip to West Africa since the warrant was issued.

The African Union (AU) voted in 2009 not to cooperate with the ICC indictments, saying they would hamper efforts to end Sudan’s multiple conflicts. Bashir rejects the ICC charges.

“The Sudanese president came for an AU event and the AU has taken a position on the ICC arrest order, so Nigeria has not taken action different from the AU stand,” presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said.

Human Rights Watch International Justice Program director, Elise Keppler said Nigeria had “the shameful distinction of being the first West African country to welcome ICC fugitive Sudanese President Sudan al-Bashir”.

“Al-Bashir is sought on the gravest crimes … and Nigeria’s hosting is an affront to victims – he belongs in custody,” she said.

The main African Union summit this month had to be moved to Ethiopia, which has not signed the ICC statute, after Malawi, heavily dependent on Western aid, refused to host Bashir.

Though initially welcomed by African leaders, the ICC has been accused of exclusively targeting African war criminals and failing to indict anyone from other continents, a charge the ICC and its backers says is unfair.

AGF seeks ICC and AU’s support in trying terrorist financiers

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has solicited the support of International Criminal Court (ICC), and the African Union (AU), in prosecuting terrorist financiers in a bid to stem the growing challenge of terrorism, faced by the country. .

While flagging-off the 51st session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALGO), in Abuja, Mr Adoke said it was high time the ICC paid closer attention to the worsening security situation in Nigeria.

“As you are aware, Nigeria has recently been grappling with the challenges occasioned by piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and terrorism in the northern part of the country, we therefore hope to benefit from incisive analysis to effectively combat international crime” he stated.

According to the AGF, despite the large number of African state parties to the Rome status of the ICC, the relationship between the organisation and AU has remained less satisfactory.

“We must, therefore, continue to render support to one another and take advantage of our unique skills and competencies to enhance the well-being of our people,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the executive Secretary of AALCO, Prof. Rahmat Muhammed, in his opening remarks, said the conference would deliberate on important issues concerning member nations, saying the organisation was committed towards ensuring peace and good governance among its member states.