The Nigeria Coalition on the International Criminal Court (NCICC) has called on the Nigerian government, as a partner to the Rome Statute, to observe the treaty and arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir should he set foot on Nigerian soil on Monday. Reports say that Al-Bashir is expected in Nigeria on 15 July to attend a summit on HIV/AIDS.
In a statement by its spokespersons, Chinonye Obiagwu and Theodora Oby Nwankwo, NCICC reminded the government that Nigeria has an obligation to support the court.
“Nigeria is expected to arrest the Sudanese President and ICC suspect Omar Al-Bashir if he visits Nigeria in the next few days as planned,” the statement said. “In the alternative, we call on Nigeria to cancel his proposed visit to Nigerian territory.”
The group pointed out that if Nigeria and other members of the ICC are committed to ending impunity in the world, they must not allow ICC arrest warrants to go unenforced, and at the very least must not accept visits from suspects such as the Sudanese leader.
It further recalled that Al-Bashir has been wanted by the Court since 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, and that the Court in 2010 issued the arrest warrant for Al-Bashir for the charge of genocide. NCICC also noted that the victims of the conflict in Darfur have suffered without justice for more than a decade due in part to the reluctance of some ICC member states to abide by the arrest warrants for Al-Bashir and other ICC suspects in Darfur.
“We, the members of Nigeria Coalition on the International Criminal Court (NCICC) urge Nigeria to stand with the innocent victims of the Darfur conflict, and the rule of law and arrest ICC fugitive Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir or bar him entry into Nigeria,” the group stressed, adding that Nigeria should not ignore their right to justice.
In that regard, NCICC drew attention to the fact that in the past, Nigeria has joined states such as South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia which prevented the isolated Sudanese leader from visiting or had other officials come in his place. The ICC investigation in Darfur began in June 2005 after being referred by the United Nations Security Council, which had determined the conflict there a threat to international peace and security.
NCICC noted today that the Council has subsequently failed to ensure the cooperation necessary for ICC prosecutions to take place.
Source: Sahara Reporters