Law News
$2.1bn arms probe: Falana petitions ICC, alleges crimes against humanity

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has petitioned the International Criminal Court, ICC, requesting it to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity committed by some Nigerians over alleged diversion of $8 billion earmarked to procure military equipments to fight insurgency.

In the petition addressed to ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, Falana urged the court to commence investigation and the prosecution of indicted former and serving military officers as well as public officials found wanting in the alleged diversion of $2.1 billion security fund, believing that they had committed an offence against the Nigerian people.

The petition

In the petition dated January 19, Falana said: “We, therefore, submit that this is sufficient to hold Col Dasuki and others that have been indicted in the arms theft scandal responsible for crimes against humanity perpetrated against Nigerians. “The failure of a former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to prevent widespread and systematic corruption including the re-looting of the Abacha loot amounts to complicity under the Rome Statute, and therefore fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity.”

To this end, the lawyer requested ICC to “urgently commence an investigation proprio motu on the allegations of the criminal diversion of the security fund of $2.1 billion and N643 billion earmarked  by suspected perpetrators, with a view to determining whether these amount to crimes against humanity within the court’s jurisdiction.

“I also urge you to invite representatives of the Nigerian government to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the court, so that the prosecutor is able to conclude on the basis of available information whether there is a reasonable basis for an investigation, and to submit a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber for authorisation of an investigation.”

… for under-funding Armed Forces

Besides, he wants the court to bring to justice those suspected to bear full responsibility for deliberate under-funding of the Armed Forces through widespread and systematic corruption in; while urging government to fulfil its obligations under the Rome Statute to cooperate with ICC. The petition reads in part: ”On account of the deliberate refusal of the former military authorities to equip and motivate members of the Armed Forces involved in combat operations against insurgents, who have killed about 25,000 soldiers and civilians, including children, and displaced over 2,000,000 people.

“Having compromised the security of the people of Nigeria by collaborating with the terrorists, the former military authorities deliberately encouraged the brutal killing of innocent people including ill-equipped officers and soldiers.

“Although the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has so far shown some political will to fight corruption and recover loot, we believe that an international investigation by ICC from the perspective of crimes against humanity would complement the anti-corruption initiatives by the current government and contribute to ending a culture of impunity.”

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