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The International Criminal Court and Nigeria

By Clement Udegbe

THE International Criminal Court (ICC),came as a result of calls and actions spanning over a century ago, with a proposal for a permanent court in response to the crimes of the Franco-Prussian War, which was followed by another call for an internationalised system of justice, to try the Kaiser and German war criminals of World War I, and following World War II, the Allies set up the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals to try Axis war criminals.

court-lawIn 1948, the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia as well as in Rwanda in the early 1990s and the mass commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide led the UN Security Council to establish ad hoc tribunals to hold individuals accountable for these atrocities, further highlighting the need for a permanent international criminal court, which culminated in the convention in June 1998, that established the ICC in Rome, Italy, creating the world’s first permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Some members, including America, United Kingdom, Russia, Korea, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Quatar, have withdrawn from the treaty. African heads of states stayed on like fools, while Charles Taylor of Liberia is serving a jail sentence from the ICC. Katanga the commander of the rebel group Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri of DCR was found guilty of genocide recently.

Laurent Gbagbo of Cote D’ivore, and Jean Pierre Bemba of the Central African Republic are facing trial at the ICC.Uhuru Kenyata of Kenya faced the humiliation of trial at the Hague, but overcame on technicality. The ICC in pursuit of President Al-Bashir of Sudan,over Dafur,had issued an order for his arrest during an African Summit last week in South Africa, where a Court Order was procured to arrest the Sudanian President, but he sneaked out of the country before the Order could be enforced.

Who really would believe that South Africa would allow itself to be used to harass and embarrass an A U member president? Except perhaps in Nigeria where politicians have capacities to turn simple logic upside down, for their own gains and to please their western allies. If it were in Nigeria, they would have deployed all means to arrest the accused person, in over zealousness, to please their Oyibo friends.

They would have gone to the meeting venue or tried to ambush the accused or lay siege at his hotel or guest house, without passing through proper legal processes. They would belch power, arrogance and lack of respect for the laws of the land, with threats that no court would stop them from arresting and extraditing the man accused by their foreign lords.

That was what they attempted to do to Senator Buruji Kashamu. I don’t support any form of crime, but we must respect the laws of our land, in the fight against crime. They forget that our own courts are able, capable and must be respected and honoured by our law enforcement agents, and politicians.

Our politicians fail to learn from our neighbours in the African comity of nations. They and their lackeys are so selfish. When a court judgment is their favour, the judiciary becomes ‘ the last bastion of hope for our democracy’ yet in defiance to the constitution , they run a whole term of their tenure without conducting local government elections.

They, pay only lip service to the rule of law, like in Imo state, where the Governor is about to pull the state down in a blind but determined effort to continue to frustrate a final judgment of the highest court, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, over a matter involving a traditional ruler, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya.

This ICC was the same place that GMB was to be dragged to as we recall after the 2011 election results. Today, the man is our President. During the last campaigns some opposition politicians at that time invited or petitioned the ICC to investigate the wife of the sitting and ruling President, because she made a incendiary comment against them.

One wondered that if her husband was not a man of peace who loved even his own enemies, he would have caused them to be arrested when they made seditious statements, about forming parallel governments if they lost the elections. What else other than chaos would have visited Nigeria if the wife of our president was arrested, or being investigated, for a campaign comment, when people were being killed in certain areas controlled by the same opposition party?

If we are to go to the ICC for campaign comments, where should we go for broken campaign promises? Majorly, the ICC officials, with due respect have plans and strategies which serve only the purpose of their masters. Today, our President Buhari is going round seeking help from our so called allies, and they are promising heaven and earth, in support of fight against Boko Haram.

These are the same people who refused to assist us, when their help would have been so useful. If they rendered their help when it was timely, we would have found the Chibok girls, and all the people and property destroyed and lost would have been saved and much damages averted.

If I sat back and watched armed robbers visit my neighbour’s house, I did nothing for my own reasons, and they robbed him, rapped his wife, carried away his virgin daughters after killing him , what kind of neighbour am I ? Should the family of my neighbour trust me thereafter? We should think deeper in our rush to find help from our allies.

The help and truth our politicians are looking for from overseas, is inside Nigeria. Former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,GEJ, has shown us that the peace some of our politicians were looking for from foreign allies is here in Nigeria. He gave Nigeria peace, by placing the value of Nigerian lives over his own ambition. Like this Otuoke son, we must learn to look inwards.

 


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.