The International Criminal Court, ICC, has received reports of crimes against humanity during the peaceful EndSARS protests in Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch,
The ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, made this known in a statement posted on the Twitter handle of the organisation.
She noted that the ICC is monitoring developments from the EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
Bensouda said: “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.
“Any loss of life and 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 that Rome Statute crimes may have been committed.
“I call for calm and restraint.”
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, had on Wednesday, said that it sent a petition to Bensouda, urging her to “promptly investigate reports that Nigerian authorities, the 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 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 21st October, 2020, and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation 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.
“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.
“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.”