South Africa still intends to withdraw membership of ICC – Justice Minister

South Africa’s government still plans to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, ICC, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Wednesday, after a court ruled that it was unconstitutional to do so.

Masutha described October’s notification to the UN of its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the Hague-based court, as a policy decision.

He said the government would decide how to proceed, including a possible appeal, after reading the full judgment.

The ICC, which launched in July 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

South Africa notified the UN of its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the Hague-based court, last October.

The withdrawal would take effect this October.

High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo in his ruling ordered the government to withdraw the notice to quit the ICC, according to a ruling broadcast on television.

“We have won in our application to have SA’s withdrawal from the #ICC set aside,” the opposition Democratic Alliance party, which challenged the withdrawal, said on its Twitter feed.

It was not immediately clear whether the government would appeal the court ruling.

The ICC has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa, where most of its investigations have been based.

South Africa, Gambia and Burundi, in 2016, signalled their intention to quit the ICC.

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow, elected in December, said earlier this month it will remain in the ICC.

South Africa said it was quitting the ICC because membership conflicted with diplomatic immunity laws.

Pretoria had in 2015 announced its intention to leave after the ICC criticised it for disregarding an order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accused of genocide and war crimes, when he visited South Africa.

Bashir has denied the accusations.


Source: Reuters/NAN

JUST IN: Police seals off Makarfi-led PDP’s meeting venue.

The police have prevented the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from converging on the International Conference Center (ICC) for a meeting.

Makarfi’s group chose the venue after the ruling of the appeal court which recognised Ali Modu Sheriff as the legitimate chairman of the PDP.

On Friday, an appeal court sitting in Port Harcourt ruled in favour of Sheriff and also declared the convention which produced the caretaker committee led by Makarfi as illegal.

In a statement on Monday, Makarfi’s group alleged that Sheriff in league with the federal government planned to stop it from holding its meeting.

The caretaker committee announced that the meeting had been moved to the Ekiti state government lodge in Abuja.

“Senator Ali Modu Sheriff in collaboration with the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led federal government has barricaded the International  Conference Center, ICC, venue of the scheduled stakeholders meeting of  the entire organs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” the statement read.

“This is a very sad development in our democratic history where there is no longer free association and movement of citizens of this country.

“Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and his APC collaborators cannot stop the will of the people. Nigerians can now confirm that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is a mole in PDP to destroy the only strong opposition in the country.

“All invited members of the party for the scheduled  stakeholders meeting  are hereby directed to proceed to will the Ekiti State Government Lodge  on TY Danjuma Street, Asokoro, Abuja by same time, 2:00Pm.”

“Don’t leave ICC”, UN envoy tells African countries.

The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has warned African countries that withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, ICC, could have grave implications for victims seeking redress for serious human rights violations.

Mr. Dieng, who stated this in a commentary, said the setting up of the tribunal was a “reckoning” for those who had long disregarded the lives and dignity of their people.

The UN envoy explained that the ideals and values that inspired the creation of ICC still hold true.

“The establishment of the Court signified a global commitment to protect victims, when national judicial mechanisms lacked the capacity, willingness or jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes,” he said.

Highlighting the significance of the Court, Mr. Dieng said that the fact that most of the cases in the continent were submitted by African States themselves, reaffirmed their belief that it would strengthen the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the African people.

He, however, added that in spite of the ICC’s achievements, it is increasingly coming under threat, with recent announcements by Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

“Other States have threatened to do so, if certain conditions are not met,” he said, noting that key among the concerns raised by these countries included the “lack of fairness in the prosecution decisions of the Court, perceived by some to disproportionately”.

Drawing attention to the ongoing atrocities in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and in other parts of the world, he underlined that the time is not right to abandon the Court.

“Rather, States and non-State members should reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the Rome Statute and ensure accountability for these horrendous crimes,” Mr. Dieng said.

He appealed to African countries to work collectively to ensure that the Court could effectively administer international criminal justice without fear or favour, contribute to the fight against impunity, and promote respect for the rule of law and human rights.

“As someone who witnessed first-hand the horrors in Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere, and who has been closely involved in the delivery of international justice at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, I know too well the consequences when the international community undermines the efforts of international justice.

“We owe it to the victims of these horrendous crimes to strengthen rather than undermine the International Criminal Court, and to reaffirm our commitment to the Rome Statute to ‘put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus contribute to their prevention,” he said.

According to him, a candid dialogue by the African countries and ICC will enhance mutual trust and cooperation.

Since the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998, more than half of the world’s States have joined the Court, 34 among them are African nations, the biggest regional block to date .

In July 2017, the Court’s founding Statue will mark the 15th anniversary of its entry into force.


Source: NAN

Nigeria not leaving ICC – Foreign Ministry

Nigeria will remain with the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite the recent pull out of some African nations, the ministry of foreign affairs has said.

Clement Aduku, spokesperson of the ministry, made the federal government’s position known on Wednesday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Aduku said Nigeria’s stand on the issue as explained by the foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, had not changed.

The African Union had in January during plenary at the 28th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, called for collective withdrawal of its members from the court.

The summit had said that African countries were not fairly treated by the court.

But Onyeama says Nigeria and other countries believe that the court has an important role to play in holding leaders accountable, hence Nigeria fully stands by it.

“Nigeria is not the only voice against it; in fact, Senegal is speaking very strongly against it. Cape Verde and other countries are also against it. What AU did was to set up a committee to elaborate a strategy for collective withdrawal.

“After, Senegal took the floor, Nigeria took the floor, Cape Verde and some other countries made it clear that they were not going to subscribe to that decision,” he said.

Onyeama said that a number of countries had requested for more time to study the decision before acceding.

He said Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana and a host of others were not willing to withdraw from the court.

“Each country freely and willingly acceded to the Treaty and not all of the members of the AU acceded; each country acceded individually, exercising its own sovereign right.

“So, if each country wants to withdraw, it has the right to do that individually.’ AU, which was not a party to the Rome Statute that established the court, should not be developing a strategy for a collective withdrawal for something that each country entered into individually.

“Those who feel they want to withdraw should do that individually,” Onyeama said.

Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia have publicly announced their intention to pull out of the ICC while Namibia, Kenya and Uganda are said to be contemplating withdrawing.

African Union’s collective withdrawal plan from ICC suffer setback

The plan by members of African Union (AU) to collectively withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) may suffer a setback as Nigeria and some other countries objected the proposal.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Addis Ababa.

Onyeama explained that there was a strategy adopted by AU for collective withdrawal from the ICC which Nigeria did not subscribe to.

The minister said that when the issue came up during a meeting, several countries kicked against it.

He said Nigeria and others believed that the court had an important role to play in holding leaders accountable, hence Nigeria fully stood by it.

“Nigeria is not the only voice agitating against it, in fact Senegal is very strongly speaking against it, Cape Verde, and other countries are also against it.

“What they (AU) do was to set up a committee to elaborate a strategy for collective withdrawal.

“And after, Senegal took the floor, Nigeria took the floor, Cape Verde and some other countries made it clear that they were not going to subscribe to that decision,” he said.

According to him, a number of countries also took the floor to say that they needed time to study it before they acceded to that position.

He said that Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana and host of others were not willing to withdraw from the court.

While faulting AU position on ICC, Onyeama stressed that each individual country willingly acceded to the 1998 Rome Statue on the setting up of the court.

“Each country free and willingly acceded to the Treaty, and not all of the members of the AU acceded, each country acceded individually exercising its own sovereign right.

“So each country, if they want to withdraw has the right to do that individually,

“The issue is that the AU which was not a party to the Rome Statues which established the court, should not be developing a strategy for a collective withdrawal for something that each country entered into individually.

“Those who feel they want to withdraw should do that individually.”

NAN reports that in what seems to be a continental domino effect, three African states in 2016 publicly declared their intention to withdraw from the court.

The countries include Brundi, South Africa and The Gambia, with the reports that Namibia, Kenya and Uganda were contemplating withdrawing from the ICC

The court has repeatedly been criticized by African states as an inefficient, neo-colonial institution of the Western powers to try African countries.

This argument is supported by the fact that nine of the ten situations under investigation, with three others under preliminary investigations, involve African countries.

However, as noted from a social shorthand by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), “the rift is often caused by a neat difference in priorities.

“Where one gives more importance to peace processes, while the other gives more weight to obtaining [international] justice.”

African state parties to the Rome Statute make up the biggest regional membership, comprising 34 of the 124 members.

From 2009, African countries have called for collective withdrawal from the ICC but some countries have pushed back.

Fayose urges ICC, Amnesty International to investigate Shi’ites killings.

Governor of Ekiti Ayodele Fayose, says the killing of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) should be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Amnesty International (AI), Daily Trust reports.


Fayose who spoke on Thursday through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said, “The murder of over 300 Nigerians, who are members of the IMN in one day and their burial in mass graves, as well as continuous murder of the Shi’ite sect should attract the attention of the ICC.”


He queried the use of firearms by the police during the recent clash in Kano, saying, “Under international human rights law governing the use of firearms during policing operations, the intentional use of lethal force is only permitted when strictly unavoidable, to protect life.”


Fayose said the detention of Ibrahim Zakzaky, leader of the sect since last December as unacceptable.


“In a month time, it will be exactly one year since Ibrahim Zakzaky was arrested and detained without trial. This is unacceptable in a democratic society where there should be strict adherence to the rule of law.”


He added, “Democracy guarantees freedom of religion, movement, association, opinions and thoughts. It is, however, worrisome that inspite of these inalienable rights, members of the Shi’ite Muslim sect are still being persecuted and alienated.


“Therefore, the ICC, Amnesty International and other relevant international organisations must intervene in the killings of the Shi’ite Muslim group with the aim of bringing those found culpable to justice, thereby putting a permanent stop to the inhuman acts,” the governor said.

Russia withdraws from International Criminal Court

President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order on Wednesday removing Russia’s signature from the International Criminal Court’s founding treaty, piling pressure on a court that is already reeling from withdrawals by some African countries.

Moscow never ratified the treaty, which it signed in 2000, meaning it never became a member subject to its jurisdiction. But the symbolic move coincided with the opening day of the general assembly of member states.

On Monday, the ICC angered Moscow by referring to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea as an armed conflict. It is also examining allegations of war crimes committed by Russian and Georgian forces during a brief 2008 war.

“Unfortunately, the court has not justified the hopes attached to it and has not become a genuinely independent authoritative organ of international justice,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“It is revealing that in its 14 years of work the ICC has pronounced just four verdicts and spent over $1 billion.”

Russia is under international pressure over its campaign of air strikes in Syria, with some human rights activists and U.S. officials accusing it of bombing civilians and civilian targets. Russia has denied those allegations.

Russia’s announcement may be welcomed by African states like South Africa and Gambia, which have recently announced their withdrawals, but critics said the move was yet another example of Moscow flouting international norms.

“It confirms Russia’s retreat from its international commitments,” said Human Rights Watch activist Liz Evenson. “It’s closing the door for people within Russia to this important judicial institution.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the decision to withdraw Russia’s signature had been taken “in the national interest” and was a formality as it didn’t change anything as far as jurisdiction was concerned.

Most African and European countries continue to support the court, the first permanent international war crimes tribunal. But many expect it to face increased diplomatic pressure from the United States under President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised a less internationalist foreign policy stance.

The ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, was founded when 120 countries adopted its founding treaty in 1998. It is seen as a successor to the Nuremburg trials after World War II and ad-hoc U.N. war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

US rejects ICC ‘war crimes’ probe.

The United States insisted Tuesday its soldiers and spies in Afghanistan are not subject to prosecution by the International Criminal Court and any war crimes probe into their actions would be “unwarranted.”

On Monday, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she is considering whether to launch a full investigation into allegations that US troops and CIA operators tortured Afghan prisoners between 2003 and 2004.

But Washington has not ratified the Hague-based court’s founding Rome Statute, and State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the United States thoroughly investigates allegations against its personnel.

“We have a robust national system of investigation and accountability that is as good as any country in the world,” she said.

“We do not believe that an ICC examination or investigation with respect to the actions of US personnel in relation to the situation in Afghanistan is warranted or appropriate,” she added.

“As we previously noted, the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute and has not consented to ICC jurisdiction.”

While the US has been leading calls for those behind atrocities in the Syrian conflict to be brought to justice in The Hague, there is no chance of any US soldiers ending up in the dock.

Last month, criticizing moves by some African countries to pull out of the court, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington thinks the “ICC has made valuable contributions in the service of accountability.”

But it has never been suggested that the United States itself, the world’s superpower, would accept international accountability.

The administration of former president George W. Bush authorized the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques — including water boarding — after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Those techniques were abolished by President Barack Obama when he took over the White House in January 2009, and he has since candidly admitted “We tortured some folks,” but no CIA officer or political leader has been prosecuted.

‘Don’t go!’ ICC officials appeal to African defectors.

“Don’t go!” That was the heartfelt appeal to African nations as the International Criminal Court opened its annual meeting Wednesday under the cloud of a wave of unprecedented defections.

Gambia on Monday formally notified the United Nations that it was withdrawing from the court, following in the wake of South Africa and Burundi.

“Don’t go,” pleaded Senegalese politician Sidiki Kaba, the president of the ICC’s Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague.

“In a world criss-crossed by violent extremism… it is urgent and necessary to defend the ideal of justice for all,” he said.

The tribunal opened in 2002 in The Hague as a court of last resort to try the world’s worst crimes. But in his passionate plea, Kaba admitted it was going through a “difficult moment”.

He acknowledged some had seen “injustice” in the investigations brought before the court so far, but he offered reassurances, saying: “You have been heard.”

The court had to redouble its efforts to convince countries to return, and to ensure that there was truly universal justice for all, Kaba said.

Amid accusations of bias against Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Uganda have also indicated they are considering pulling out of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.

– ‘Do not betray the victims’ –

“Though the powerful may seek to leave the court, the victims everywhere plead for its involvement,” UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

He insisted “there is no substitute for the ICC” and in the long term “these states will boomerang back as the court is accepted by more and more states”.

“By withdrawing from the Rome Statute, leaders may shield themselves, but it would be at the cost of depriving their people of a unique form of protection.”

He warned “a new trend of isolationism” sweeping the world would trigger more attacks on the court.

“Now is not the time to abandon the post, now is the time of resolve and strength,” Zeid said.

“Do not betray the victims, nor your own people… stand by the court… it is the best that we have.”

The defections will take a year to come into force.

Currently nine out of the 10 ICC investigations are in African countries. The other is in Georgia.

But on the eve of the meeting, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda revealed there was a “reasonable basis” to believe US troops as well as the Taliban and Afghan forces may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

In her annual report, she said she would decide “imminently” whether to ask to launch a full-blown investigation in Afghanistan.

If the investigation goes ahead, the tribunal would be taking on its most complex and politically controversial investigation to date.

Niger To Hand Over Scores Of Boko Haram Militants To ICC- President Issoufou

The Niger Government has arrested scores of Boko Haram militants and will hand them over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trial, President Mahamadou Issoufou, has said.

This is contained in a document from the World Humanitarian Summit, ongoing in Istanbul, Turkey, made available to reporters in New York.

The document said Mr. Issoufou made this known on Tuesday during a high-level leaders’ round table titled “Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity”.

He said the Nigerien government would ensure the militants are tried by the ICC.

“This is something that all countries should do,” he said.

The best way to protect civilians, he added, was to ratify humanitarian conventions.

“Political, military and administrative authorities must be aware of pledges made by Governments and of the sanctions provided for under those conventions,” he said.

Mr. Issoufou added that all countries must take on commitments to respect international humanitarian law and human rights instruments, as well as guarantee that populations in need received humanitarian aid.

Credit: PremiumTimes

FG Assures ICC Of Commitment To Global Human Rights Standards

The Federal Government on Wednesday in Abuja expressed commitment to upholding the highest standards of human rights in the conduct of all international affairs including counter-insurgency operations in the country.


Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, (SAN) made the pledge when he received a delegation from the office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, the minister assured the delegation that Nigeria had high value for its relationship with the ICC.


Malami said that the Nigerian Army has conducted its operations in the North East region of the country in a highly professional manner, imbibing best practices in the areas of international human rights.

He also said that he was aware of the eight case files opened against Nigeria by the ICC which the prosecutor intended to investigate in her next stage of assessment of the Nigeria situation.

According to him, six of the alleged cases were committed by the Boko Haram sect while the remaining two are by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The minister insisted that Nigeria had the prerogative rights in handling the alleged crimes referred to in the prosecutor’s 2015 report of activities in the country.

“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report and will, therefore, continue present efforts in the above direction.’’

He further added that the government was committed to ensuring that troops were guided by the rules of engagement, promising that any infractions would be severely dealt with.

He solicited the support and understanding of ICC and the international community especially in regards to the conduct of the affairs of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Responding, the leader of the delegation, Mr. Phakiso Choko, said that the prosecutor did not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment.

He said that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations were unable to resolve through the internal mechanism.

The prosecutor, through the delegation, expressed support and willingness to work with Nigeria in addressing all identified crimes and criminality against humanity.



Alleged Killings Of Herdsmen: Group Threatens To Drag IPOB To ICC

The Conference of Minority Tribes of Nigeria (CMTN), has said it will drag the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague following the alleged killings of some Fulani herdsmen in Abia State.

The group which condemned the killings of the northerners, described it as a crime against humanity. Recall that bikerings have followed the allegations by the Department of State Services, DSS, Abuja Headquarters, that members of IPOB killed some Fulani herdsmen in Abia State, and dumped them in gutters.

But this allegation, the separatist group, other groups, as well as the Abia State government, has denied, describing it as a lie from the pit of hell. In separate press statements, they condemned the DSS, accusing the nation’s secrete police of wanting to spark another ethnic pogrom in Nigeria.

However, addressing a press conference on Monday, in Abuja, Secretary General of CMTN, Comrade Samson Babalola said these alleged killings marked a new low in what had been cordial relations between ethnic nationalities in Nigeria that have always accepted each other as family. He said other ethnic groups strongly condemned government forces when it clamped down on IPOB’ protests and had even planned sympathy marches in support of IPOB and its leaders that are being detained.

Credit: vanguardngr

Zaria Massacre: Buhari, Buratai, El-Rufai Dragged To ICC By UK-Based Muslim Commission

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a United Kingdom-based Muslim advocacy organization, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the December 12 to 14, 2015 massacre of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).

The organization also asked the ICC to investigate the emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, and the emir of Zaria, Shehu Idris, for human rights violation and crimes against humanity over the alleged killing of at least 1,000 followers of the Shi’ite group led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

Other army officers and persons the IHRC asked the ICC to probe for their roles in the massacre are: spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Adeniyi Oyebade, the Commander Nigerian Depot, Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, Director Military Intelligence, Chief of Defence intelligence – AVM Riku Morgan, AK Ibrahim – Commander 1 Division Garrison, Nigerian Army, Kaduna and Col. F.M Babayo.

The rest are Capt Ben, Adjutant Depot, Nigerian Army; Adeniyi Oyebade, General Officer Commanding, 1 Division Garrison Kaduna; Umar Labdo; Sambo Rigachukun; Bala Lau; Yahaya Jingir and; Kabir Gombe.

In a detailed report, the IHRC argued that attacks of the army on members of IMN between December 12 and 14 in Zaria qualify as crime against humanity and therefore called on the ICC to initiate an investigation into the incident.

According to the IHRC, “ICC prosecutor should open a preliminary examination into the incidents that occurred between the 12th and 14th December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State”.

It also demanded that the “prosecutor expand(s) its monitoring activities on Nigeria and the army’s involvement in attacks against the IMN that occurred in the period between 2014 and 2015.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

African Leaders To Withdraw Membership From ICC

African leaders have backed a Kenyan proposal pushing for a pullout from the International Criminal Court, leaders said Sunday, repeating claims it unfairly targets the continent. Chad’s President Idriss Deby, elected African Union chairman at the two-day summit, criticized the court for focusing its efforts on African leaders. “Elsewhere in the world, many things happen — many flagrant violations of human rights — but nobody cares,” Deby said at the close of the summit late Sunday, which had an official theme of protecting human rights.

No legally binding decision was made, and the decision to leave the ICC’s founding Rome Statute is up to an individual nation. The decision is a “proposal…for the AU to develop a road map for the withdrawal of African nations”, a Kenyan presidential statement read. The war crimes trial of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo began last week, rekindling a bitter row across Africa over the international justice system.

Set up in 2002 as the last resort to try war criminals and perpetrators of genocide never tried at home, the ICC has opened probes involving eight nations, all of them African: Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Mali. The AU, led in particular by Kenya, has accused the court of unfairly targeting Africans for prosecution as the majority of its cases come from the continent.

This included a failed case to try Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and a faltering case against his deputy William Ruto, for allegedly masterminding deadly post-election violence in the east African country in 2007-2008 in which some 1,200 people died. “We refuse to be carried along in a vehicle that has strayed off course to the detriment of our sovereignty, security and dignity as Africans,” Kenyatta said in a statement.

Credit: Vanguard

$2.1bn Arms Deal: Falana Drags Dasuki, Others To ICC

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the allegation of diversion of the $2.1bn arms funds by a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and some military and public officials.

Falana also called on the ICC to bring to justice those who diverted the funds meant for the empowerment of the country’s security forces.

In a petition dated January 19, 2016, and sent to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, Falana asked the ICC to invite the Federal Government to provide written or oral testimonies at the seat of the court on the stolen funds.

He alleged that the sum of $322m and £5.5m from the money stolen and stashed abroad by the late Gen. Sani Abacha, allegedly transferred to Dasuki by a former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to prosecute the war on terror, had been illegally diverted.

He said it was unfortunate that part of the stolen funds was used to fund the re-election campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections.

Falana maintained that those who engaged in the criminal diversion of the security funds should be held liable for the death of about 25,000 people, who were killed by the Boko Haram sect and the over 2,000,000 people, who were displaced by the terrorists.

According to him, the Federal Government needs to fulfil its obligations by cooperating with the ICC to arrest suspected perpetrators of the stolen funds and provide other support to the ICC.

Credit: Punch

$2.1bn Arms Deal: Falana Drags Dasuki, Others Before ICC

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the allegation of diversion of the $2.1bn arms funds by a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and some military and public officials.



Falana also called on the ICC to bring to justice those who diverted the funds meant for the empowerment of the country’s security forces.



In a petition dated January 19, 2016, and sent to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, Falana asked the ICC to invite the Federal Government to provide written or oral testimonies at the seat of the court on the stolen funds.

He alleged that the sum of $322m and £5.5m from the money stolen and stashed abroad by the late Gen. Sani Abacha, allegedly transferred to Dasuki by a former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to prosecute the war on terror, had been illegally diverted.



He said it was unfortunate that part of the stolen funds was used to fund the re-election campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections.



Falana maintained that those who engaged in the criminal diversion of the security funds should be held liable for the death of about 25,000 people, who were killed by the Boko Haram sect and the over 2,000,000 people, who were displaced by the terrorists.



According to him, the Federal Government needs to fulfil its obligations by cooperating with the ICC to arrest suspected perpetrators of the stolen funds and provide other support to the ICC.



The human rights activist stressed that sufficient evidences gathered so far were sufficient to hold Dasuki and others that were being prosecuted for the scandal responsible for crimes against humanity.



The petition partly reads, “On account of the deliberate refusal of the former military authorities to equip and motivate the members of the armed forces involved in combat operations, the insurgents have killed about 25,000 soldiers and civilians including children and displaced over 2,000,000 people.



“The ICC needs to urgently commence an investigation proprio motu on the allegations of the criminal diversion of the security funds of $2.1bn and N643bn earmarked by suspected perpetrators, with a view to determining whether these amount to crimes against humanity within the Court’s jurisdiction.”




Credit : Punch

Fashola, Six Others For ICG Award In US

The immediate past governor of Lagos State and ministerial nominee, Babatunde Raji Fashola will tomorrow be conferred with award by International Crisis Group (ICG), a worldwide conflict prevention group. Other six exceptional personalities will also be conferred with the awards.

The annual award will be held in New York, United States.

In a statement by ICG, Stephen J. Solarz, the award will be given to Fashola “for his commitment to resolving social, economic and security challenges in one of the world’s most challenging urban environments.”

Some of the other awardees include;  former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, Former Italian Foreign Minister, Emma Bonino, former Australian Foreign Minister and two others.

ICC Commences Probe Of Oba of Lagos Regarding Alleged Threat on Ndigbo

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has commenced investigation on the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, for alleged threat to sink the Igbo residing in Lagos State into the lagoon, if they failed to vote for the All Progres­sives Congress (APC) dur­ing the April 11, 2015 gover­norship election in the state.

It has been reported that the son of the late former governor of old Anambra State, Dr. Josef Umunnakwe Onoh, had petitioned the ICC over the Oba’s alleged threat. The ICC had earlier in the year, acknowledged re­ceipt of Onoh’s petition and promised to give consider­ation to his request.

In the second corre­spondence to Onoh, with reference number OTP-CR-140/15, and dated Au­gust 13, 2015, ICC’s Head of Information and Evi­dence Unit in the office of the prosecutor, M. P. Dillion, said they were analyzing the situation identified in the petition, with the assistance of other related communi­cations and other available information.

Part of the ICC’s latest letter to Onoh read: “Un­der Article 53 of the Rome Statute, the prosecutor must consider whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the ju­risdiction of the court have been committed, the grav­ity of the crimes, whether national systems are inves­tigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, and the in­terests of justice.”

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South African Court Bans Sudanese President From Leaving Country…

A South African court on Sunday issued a temporary ban on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir leaving the country after the International Criminal Court called for him to be arrested at a summit in Johannesburg.

Bashir, who is wanted over alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur conflict, mostly travels to countries that have not joined the ICC, but South Africa is a signatory of the court’s statutes.

The Pretoria High Court said in a statement it was “compelling respondents to prevent President Omar Al-Bashir from the leaving the country until an order is made in this court”.

The hearing is set to take place later Sunday, the opening day of the African Union summit.

The ruling came after the Southern African Litigation Centre, a legal rights group, launched an urgent court application to force the authorities to arrest Bashir.Bashir joined a group photograph of leaders at the summit despite the calls for his arrest.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and fighting has forced some 2.5 million people to flee their homes, the United Nations says.
Khartoum, however, disputes the figures, estimating the death toll at no more than 10,000.

“Allowing President al-Bashir into South Africa without arresting him would be a major stain on South Africa’s reputation for promoting justice for grave crimes,” said Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch.
“South Africa’s legal obligations as an ICC member mean cooperating in al-Bashir’s arrest, not in his travel plans.”


Nigerian Senate Wants South Africa’s Zulu King Sued At ICC

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday urged the federal government to immediately recall its ambassador from South Africa, and sue the country’s Zulu King at the International Criminal Court, over ongoing xenophobic attacks.

Violence has continued in South Africa as locals target foreigners, with at least seven migrants killed. After three weeks of unrest, the South African government deployed troops to the streets Tuesday. The government said 300 people have been arrested. The motion to recall the Nigerian diplomat was moved by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba. The Senate, subsequently, considered five prayers for the motion.

Apart from calling for immediate recall of the Nigerian ambassador to South Africa, the legislators said the federal government should sue the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, who incited the attacks, at the International Criminal Court.

While deliberating on the xenophobic attacks going on in South Africa, the legislators invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, to brief the committee on foreign affairs on the situation and the measures taken to safeguard the lives and property of the Nigerians in South Africa.

The Senate also urged the federal government to pressurize the South African government to call the perpetrators of the evil act to justice and ensure adequate compensation of the affected families.

In addition, the legislators commended Nigerians for their restraint in the face of the attacks.

Nkechi Nwogu representing Abia South senatorial district thanked the Senate leader for bringing the motion to the senate. “This is not the first time that South Africa and their youth have gone after international communities.

“The same thing happened in 2008 and what happened to the perpetrators when it happened.

“We must ensure that we get to the bottom of things and should make sure that the South African government pays dearly for it.

Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi central, said the South African government should be suspended from the African Union.

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APC Asks ICC, NHRC To Prosecute Fayose

The All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State has urged the National Human Rights Commission and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Holland, to prosecute Governor Ayodele Fayose.

The party accused the governor of making inciting broadcast on the state radio and television by urging his supporters into “an act of rage and violence” to attack the 19 APC lawmakers in the Ekiti State House of Assembly thus preventing the lawmakers from performing their constitutional duties.

The APC said the statement by Fayose had threatened the peace of the state in the past few days.

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US Set To Sanction Patience Jonathan, Orubebe, Others

First, it was the extradition of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ogun central senator-elect Buruji Kashamu to the United States but gradually the flood light of the US seems to beam on wife of the President, Patience Jonathan and a few others who attempted to disrupt the just concluded elections or instigated any violence.

Along with Patience Jonathan former Niger Delta minister, Godsday Orubebe and governor of Katsina state, Ibrahim Shema are going to be sanctioned by the US.

The US said Monday that it will impose visa restrictions on any Nigerian found to have incited violence or interfered with the electoral process.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said in a statement that the US will shut its doors on people involved in any form of violence during the polls.

“Anyone found to have incited violence or interfered with electoral processes will be unwelcome in the United States and subject to visa sanctions,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said.

Although Thomas-Greenfield did not give names of those considered for sanctions, Patience Jonathan, Orubebe, Shema and others who became an item on social media across the globe for inciting violence and trying to scuttle the elections seems to have put themselves in pole position for this sanction.

Thomas-Greenfield said, while the elections were generally without a significant scale of violence, and irregularities in some parts of Nigeria, some people were resolved to undermine the will of Nigerians and interfere with electoral processes, resorting to violence and voter intimidation.

She said the US regretted any loss of life and property during the process, adding that violence and rigging was unacceptable in a democratic electoral process.

She commended the Independent National Electoral Commission and its chair, Attahiru Jega. She also encouraged Nigeria and other nations to continue to explore the use of relevant technologies in future elections.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield

“Despite some technical glitches, it is clear that technology and use of social media-INEC’s online posting of results for each polling unit, live tweeting of results, the use of biometric permanent voter cards and electronic card readers- improved efficiency and limited fraud.”

“Now more than ever, it is up to all Nigerians to stay united so that Nigeria can move forward with a clear set of priorities for the future. This next phase is critical as the world continues its hopeful watch for what happens in Nigeria,” she noted

She added that Nigeria’s “democracy will be a beacon across the continent and beyond.”

Thomas-Greenfield said the US looked forward to the inauguration of the president elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29 and the beginning of a new chapter of the relationship between the two countries.

It would be recalled that Orubebe accused the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, of bias, and asked him to resign on national TV before the announcement of results from states could continue.

Although he apologised for his shameful act, his action has however spoken louder than words.

On her part, Patience Jonathan incited violence during a PDP Women Campaign in Calabar, Cross River state, when she said that anyone chanting ‘Change’ (The All Progressives Congress’s campaign ‘word’) be stoned.

In the video which is an item on YouTube, she said: “I’m telling you, anyone that comes and tell you change, stone that person. What you did not do 19 kilikili, is now that age has caught up with you, you want to come and change? You can’t change rather you will turn back to a baby. You will turn back to a baby. From old age nothing, so nothing like change. Rather (it) is continuity.”

The APC has since reported her to the International Criminal Court in Netherlands.

APC Drags Jonathan To ICC

APC has threatened to drag President Goodluck Jonathan to the International Criminal Court (ICC), at The Hague. This follows the massive terror unleashed on the residents of Lagos on Monday by armed pro-Jonathan groups under the cover of a faction of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).

The OPC was demanding the sack of Professor Attahiru Jega, National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Garba Shehu, the Director of Media and Publicity of the party’s presidential campaign organization, noted that the party was not ready to cower to the intimidation of  President Jonathan, ahead of the general elections.

He described the activities of the President and his wife, Patience, as regards the elections as not patriotic and very unhelpful for entrenching democratic values in the nation.

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Patience Jonathan Won’t Appear Before ICC -PDP

The PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation  has said wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, will not appear before the International Criminal Court. It said there was no basis for her to be reported to the internal court in the first place.
Director of Media and Publicity of the organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday. Fani-Kayode was reacting to the claim by the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, that it had reported the First Lady to the ICC.
Patience was reported to have told supporters of the PDP at its rally in Cross Rivers State to stone anyone canvassing for change in the state.
Read More: punchng

PDP Blasts APC for Dragging First Lady to ICC

The Peoples Democratic Party has slammed the All Progressives Congress for dragging the First Lady, Patience Jonathan to the International Criminal Court. The party noted that there was no basis for her to be reported to the international court in the first place.

Femi Fani-Kayode, Director of Media and Publicity of the party’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, said the First Lady will not appear before the court.

He described Patience as a woman of peace, adding that her speech didn’t propel anyone to take to violence.

Patience Jonathan was reported to have told supporters of the PDP at a rally in Cross River State to stone anyone canvassing for change, which is the slogan of APC.

Read More: Punch

Chatham House: APC Squandared N5bn, Buhari Might Explain To ICC If Defeated- Fani- Kayode

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has mocked APC for describing the appearance of its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari last Thursday, at the Chatham House in London, as successful. According to him, the reverse was the case as the outing was a “monumental failure”.

The statement reads: “The whole sorry episode has now fully exposed the APC as a party built on propaganda, deceit, make-believe and one which lacks respect for the people of Nigeria. A few days ago, we promised to go into further detail on the Chatham House episode at a later stage and we have decided to do that today. Here are the facts.

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The Federal Government under the leadership of Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and the Minister of Special Duties vowed to shutdown the National Youth Summit that took place at the International Conference Center.
The Youth Summit which started on the 25th of September (Thursday) with over 7,600 delegates was to be shutdown since the Summit, according to insider sources, has no PDP agenda and the government could not afford to take such chances.
The organisers of the Summit, Golden Heart Foundation became handicapped and stranded even though they had paid about 11million Naira to use the facility.
As it was difficult for the Senator Anyim to shut down the summit, the case was reported to the FCT minister who boosted that he is coming right away to shut the facility down.
Before the arrival of the minister, the news had gone round in the social media and the youths were already threatening to stage a protest. This weakened the strength of Senator Bala Mohammed, who then called the management of the National Youth Summit into a closed door meeting, which lasted for two hours.
The major issue in the meeting was whether the summit was an APC agenda or not. It took a lot of explanations before the minister accepted that the summit was neutral. Then the minister then said that before he could offer any assistance, he must be allowed to address the youth. This offer was obviously accepted by the organisers.
The FCT minister and the minister for special duties came to the summit and addressed the Youths. Sen Bala made every effort to  turn the event into a PDP affair, stating that the President sent him to read his goodwill message to the youths. And that the President is willing to offer more jobs to the youths etc. The youths applauded.
The National coordinator while offering his response begged the Minister to allow the Summit to continue in ICC, but the Minister politely stood his grounds and was disappointed that the National Coordinator would bring up the issue in the public, thereby undermining his political effort for the day.
This led to an emergency for National Youth Summit organisers who had to quickly tear down all the summit apparatus to go to another venue.
However, the official Press Release from the Golden Heart Foundation is that the Ministers acted in the interest of National Security and without any political undertone.

Lots of questions are arising in the mouths of over 7000 youths who saw the ministers asking them out of ICC. They are asking why the government allow Golden Heart Foundation to mobilize youths from 774 local government areas just to shut them out at the middle of the event?

The youths are also asking, why can’t the government hold the Merit Awards at the banquet hall since they had “mistakenly” hired ICC out?

Another question from the Youth is as to why can’t DSS use the whole of Sunday, to prepare for the Merit Award. Why does it have to be 48 hour clean up?

The delegates moved out of the facility peacefully as the organisers strongly insists that they are peace loving.
If they government is sincere about its transformation agenda, how can they shut down over 7,600 youths  that have come together across Nigeria to deliberate on how to move Nigeria forward?
The future of Nigeria lies in the Youth and it time the youth rise and say no the unwarranted suppression from any level!

Hague Prosecutors Ask to Stop Kenyan President’s Trial


International Criminal Court case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ended on Friday when prosecutors conceded the country’s refusal to cooperate. This means they would not have enough evidence to put him on trial. The decision to stop the much-delayed trial, which was due to start on October 7, is a serious blow to the decade-old war crimes tribunal, which has suffered from a string of end cases and accusations it singles out Africans for prosecution.

The case against Kenyatta, who was accused of stoking a wave of lethal inter-ethnic violence after Kenya’s 2007 presidential elections, had been postponed several times as prosecutors tried to gather evidence against the politician.

 ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a filing, asking judges to adjourn the case indefinitely. He said, “The accused person in this case is the head of a government that has so far failed fully to comply with its obligations to the Court.”

Kenyatta, the son of his country’s founder, was elected president in 2012 and immediately began rallying Kenya’s African Union allies in a diplomatic push to have the charges against him dropped, along with those against his deputy, William Ruto, who is already on trial on separate but similar charges.

Prosecutors had asked Kenyan authorities to provide their president’s phone and bank records in the hope this would yield the evidence they needed to convict him after their case was weakened by the withdrawal of star prosecution witnesses.