#EndSARS: International Criminal Court says it has ‘received information alleging crimes’ in Nigeria
London, Oct, 22, 2020 (AltAfrica)-International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Thursday said her office is paying a close eye on developments in Nigeria.
“My office has been closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria and the reaction of Nigeria’s law enforcement and security agencies,” Bensouda said in a tweet.
“Any loss of life or injury is concerning. We have received information alleging crimes and are keeping a close eye on developments, in case violence escalates and any indications arise on that Rome Statute crimes may have been committed,” she added.
Witnesses said soldiers fired live ammunitions on #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos, on Tuesday. The army denied its personnel were involved.
Although Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said there were no fatalities from the attack on the unarmed protesters, witnesses and Amnesty International said “several” people died.
The shooting has attracted global outrage against the Nigerian authorities.
A Nigerian based NGO, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said it had sent a petition to Mrs Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to “promptly investigate reports that Nigerian authorities, military, and some politicians have used/ and are using thugs, soldiers and security agents to intimidate, harass, attack and kill #EndSARS peaceful protesters in several parts of Nigeria, including Abuja, Lagos, Edo, Osun, Plateau, and Kano states.”
SERAP urged Mrs Bensouda to “push for those suspected to be responsible for these crimes, mostly security officials, soldiers, some politicians and other actors who directly or indirectly have individually and/or collectively contributed to the attacks, deaths and injuries, and are therefore complicit in the crimes, to be tried by the ICC.”
In the petition dated 21 October 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The Nigerian authorities over the years have been unwilling and/or unable to prosecute suspected perpetrators of killing of protesters, which in turn has promoted a culture of impunity and emboldened authorities, the military, politicians and their accomplices who continue to commit human rights crimes against protesters.”
SERAP said: “The violent attacks on peaceful protesters in Lekki, Alausa, and other parts of the country suggest the lack of political will by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to respect people’s human rights, including the rights to life, dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”
According to SERAP: “The repeated attacks on peaceful protesters suggest the misuse of the military and security agents by the Nigerian authorities and the failure to apply criminal sanctions to suspected perpetrators.”