International Criminal Court probes rights abuses in Nigeria; Prosecutor denies meeting Buhari

Posted by News Express | 10 October 2018 | 1,782 times

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•ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said that it is investigating human rights violations in Nigeria, disclosing that the probe would end soon.

It stated that investigators would in no time submit their findings on the inquiries initiated against the country over alleged gross abuse of citizens’ rights.

ICC prosecutor, Dr Fatou Bensouda, made the disclosure on Tuesday during a conversation with the Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA), Mark Ellis, at the ongoing yearly conference of the lawyers’ body in Rome, Italy.

A former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of The Gambia, Bensouda said her team of investigators was going underground on preliminary examination of the Nigerian situation.

She said: “My team is going underground on preliminary examination collecting information, talking with government officials and others and not just the authorities themselves. The preliminary examination in Nigeria has advanced a lot.

“It is moving and progressing very well. Hopefully, very soon, we will come to the final determination of that investigation.”

Meanwhile, Dr Bensouda has vehemently denied that she met and granted audience to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari when he visited ICC headquarters at The Hague.

International Human Rights Lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe of the Washington-based

US NIGERIA LAW GROUP disclosed this in an e-mail he sent to News Express. He said: “Last week, I visited the International Criminal Court in The Hague to discuss sundry matters related to the situation in Nigeria including:

“While the kernel of our discussions remain confidential, I wish to gratefully acknowledge the response of the Chief Prosecutor to my memos raising concern over the visit of Gen Buhari as special guest speaker at the chambers of the ICC (“Troubling Visit of Nigeria’s President Buhari to ICC,”)

“In the memos dated July 15 and August 6, I had asked for the minutes of the meeting between Gen Buhari and Chief Prosecutor Bensouda to be publicly disclosed.

“However I was advised by the Officer of the Prosecutor (OTP) that Chief Prosecutor Bensouda did not in fact have a meeting with Gen. Buhari as claimed in the schedule released by the government of Nigeria.

“Apart from brief greetings, the Chief Prosecutor did not have a private meeting with the Nigerian President. Rather she did meet with the Attorney General of Nigeria who is the relevant responding party she interfaces with regarding Nigeria.

“The Chief Prosecutor maintains that her mandate empowers her to engage with national leaders so even if she had met with Gen. Buhari, it would have been in order.

“She emphasised that her not meeting with Gen. Buhari was not because she lacked the powers so to do or because she was avoiding him.”

•Partly based on a Guardian report.

 


Source: News Express

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