The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) has called on the Nigerian government to domesticate the provisions of the Rome Statute for the prosecution of crimes against humanity.
The group made the call in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Statute and the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday.
According to the statement signed by the group’s chairman, Edmund Chinonye, NCICC also asked ICCC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to engage the federal government on reported killings across Nigeria.
“To ensure a more just world, it is important for states to foster cooperation with the ICC by domesticating and implementing the Rome Statute’s provision of complementarity in their national legislation and prosecute international crimes committed within their territory.
“It is imperative at this time for the Nigerian government to stand up for justice, domesticate the Rome Statute and prosecute these gross and frequent violations.”
The Rome Statute, which contains the laws interpreted by the International Criminal Court, was adopted on July 17, 1998. However, the ICC was not officially created until July 1, 2002, with a mandate to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
According to the Statute, the ICC is established to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes in countries across the world.
Article 7 of the Statute describes crimes against humanity as acts which; “when committed forms part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.”
These crimes include murder, extermination; enslavement; deportation or forcible transfer of a population; Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law.
Various parts of Nigeria have experienced widespread killings perpetrated mostly by suspected herdsmen and the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
The crimes have been condemned by local and international leaders.
Nigeria signed the Rome Statute on June 1, 2000, and ratified it on September 27, 2001, becoming the 39th state to ratify the statute.
On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari attended a summit of the ICC leaders in the Netherlands as part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the statute.
Currently 123 countries are State Parties to the Rome Statute.
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