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Boko Haram sponsorship: DON’T BE MISLED, Intersociety tells International Criminal Court •Writes Chief Prosecutor

By News Express on 15/09/2014

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands, has been urged not to allow itself to be misled over the issue of Boko Haram sponsorship.

The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) made the appeal in a letter to ICC Chief Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, dated September 14, 2014. Signed by Intersociety Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi, the letter was entitled ‘Sponsorship of Nigerian Insurgency Violence: Why Your Distinguished Criminal Court Must Not Be Misled & Misinformed’.

In it the frontline Nigerian rights group wrote: “Recall a letter addressed to us by your respected office, dated 2nd day of June 2014 in response to our two-part letter to Mr. President of Nigeria, dated 29th and 31st May, 2014, which we copied your respected office. The remaining parts three and four of the letter as well as related subsequent letters and publications updated up to July 2014 were also sent to your office, which it duly received and acknowledged. The correspondences between your office and ours were in respect to commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the State and non-State actors in Nigeria’s insurgency violence (Boko Haram terrorism) and a demand for your body’s intervention.

“Our writing your respected office again is not only to remind your office that we are still waiting for the official announcement from your revered office of its commencement of its substantive criminal inquiry into the above named atrocity crimes with a view to apprehending and prosecuting their offenders; but also to alert your office of well coordinated attempts by those at the center of the Nigerian Insurgency sponsorship and their collaborators to politicize, misdirect and misinform your office and divert the international attention as per those bankrolling the heinous criminal activities of the leading terror groups operating in the country, which include Boko Haram and Fulani terror groups. We are also not ignorant of a number of credible challenges delaying your office’s prompt intervention. These include “municipal and international referral” procedures Articles 14 of the ICC and 7 of the UN Charter). We are aware that the challenge supposedly posed by the “principle of complementarity” is already overcome because Nigeria has grossly shown its “inability” and “unwillingness” to municipally sanction the atrocity criminals under reference (Article 17).

“Therefore, our writing your respected office is on the issue of the sponsorship of the Boko Haram terrorism in the country. We understand that a number of petitions from individuals and groups including latent groups said to represent the country’s civil society community have been forwarded to your office particularly in the angle of the Boko Haram terror sponsorship. The issue under reference was recently brought to bear and made a public discourse in Nigeria. Reason being a recent development (July 2014) before the British House of Commons where a prominent member of the Parliament, Mr. Andrew Rosindell questioned the UK Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague, on the country’s engagement with Nigeria’s leading opposition bodies and leaders over the Boko Haram menace and its sponsorship.

“The Cable News online had broken the news on its site on Saturday, July 12, 2014.  The Online news further reports: ‘This came after a debate in the Parliament in which Labour MP Sandra Osborne sought to examine allegations of links between the bodies under reference and the insurgents. The increasing questioning of the UK government by MPs on the issue may force an enquiry into the allegations.  Hon. Andrew Rosindell, a conservative who represents Romford and is a member of the influential foreign affairs committee, sent in his written questions ─ called “notices” ─ on Tuesday, July 8.

“ ‘Mr. John Hague (foreign secretary) is mandated to formally respond to Rosindell’s questions in the coming weeks on behalf of the British Government. The questions, listed under “notices for written answer”, were published on the website of the UK Parliament. Rosindell’s queries relating to Boko Haram, as listed, are: 1. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will commission an inquiry into the international support network for Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon; and if he will make a statement (Notice no. 204402). 2. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have had with leading members of the Nigerian opposition party and its leaders; and if he will make a statement (204401)’.

“ ‘Others are: 3. ‘To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the rise in Islamic terrorism in Nigeria (204387). 4. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department plans to offer to Nigeria in tackling the threat of Boko Haram (204388). 5. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of links between Boko Haram and other Islamic extremist groups in Africa (204389). 6. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will discuss with his counterpart in Cameroon the need for constructive dialogue between that country and Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram; and if he will make a statement(204390)’.

“This marked the beginning of a barrage of reactions particularly from the opposition bodies and leaders resulting in denials, accusations and counter-accusations. Fierce local and international propaganda machinery was commissioned. The machinery was drawn from sections of local and international media (including paper, audio, audio visual and ICT) as well as civil society community. The climax of the fierce and well coordinated propaganda under reference was the “Davies Stephen Strawmanship”. Dr. Stephen Davies is a self acclaimed “international negotiator” said to have been hired to negotiate the release of the held Chibok Girls. His strange and perceived roguish style of “negotiation roles” in which he utterly took side and made wild and spurious allegations against some persons gave us every reason to investigate him, which we did and found his roles and utterances to be quackery.  We also saw him as a “strawman”. In our public statement, issued on September 7, 2014 over the issue, his credibility and status were criminologically investigated and analyzed in the context of streamlined roles of a third party conflict negotiator particularly as its concerns “neutrality”, “impartiality”, “confidentiality”, “reliability”, “trust” and “statesmanship”.

“Following questions were asked in the course of our criminological investigation: Was Dr. Stephen Davies engaged to negotiate the release of abducted Chibok girls or to interview Boko Haram Commanders to ascertain their sponsors? Can a hostage or conflict peace negotiator validly break his or her oath of neutrality and confidentiality as Dr. Davies has recklessly done? Are there not terms of reference for Dr. Stephen Davies to operate? Can a third party negotiator be one sided?

“Who actually hired him?  What benefits do the Boko Haram Commanders stand to gain by naming their sponsors? Did the Boko Haram Commanders actually name their sponsors in their so-called interactions with Dr. Stephen Davies?

“Others are: Did Dr. Stephen Davies’ hostage negotiation deal for the release of Chibok girls fail on account of the sponsors and sponsorship of Boko Haram terror insurgency? Is Dr. Stephen Davies truly a third party hostage/conflict peace negotiator? What about his past success or failed stories in matters of hostage or conflict peace negotiation if any? Are his talkativeness and wild allegations in line with the international best practices in matters of conflict peace third party negotiation? Can it be said that Dr. Stephen Davies is a confirmed quack hired by Nigeria’s merchants of death for bloody enrichment and deadly political-cum-ethno-religious goals?

“The so called “Dr. Stephen Davies of Australia” has been widely quoted in both local and international media as accusing some prominent Nigerian citizens including the immediate past Army chief and a former governor of Borno State in the Northeast of Nigeria of sponsoring Boko Haram terror group. He also raised issues that are clearly not connected with the ongoing insurgency violence in the country, thereby raising further credibility question of his true social identity. All these are carefully designed so as to divert the attentions of Nigerians, your office and the international community with respect to real sponsors and sponsorship of the Nigeria’s ethno-religious terror brigands including Boko Haram killer brigade. Your respected office should not be surprised to have received a barrage of petitions from groups believed to have been oiled to distract, mislead and misinform your office over the issue. Petitions sent to your office between August and first week of September 2014 most likely fall within this category. Eagle eye should be used while considering them.

“Lastly, relevant provisions of the ICC including Article 28 empower your respected office to investigate and prosecute criminal State actors in Nigeria whose conducts in the course of prosecuting counter-insurgency violence are found to be outside the provisions of the ICC Statute and the Geneva War Conventions. But such State atrocity criminals including sponsors of the Insurgent terror group should not be tried by “ordeal” or on the basis of “hearsay pieces of evidence”. They should be independently identified using your office’s competent criminal investigation human and material resources. Any call on your office either written or oral to see and treat anybody named by Dr. Stephen Davies and his perceived sponsors as war crimes, humanity and genocidal criminals or suspects should be out-rightly rejected and discarded. This is because whatever he has said in that respect is corrupted, contaminated, crude, unreliable, unsubstantiated, unscientific and unverifiable.

“Your respected office should also be careful on news coming from the country in respect of the subject matter. Such news should be independently verified with further extensive investigation before attaching any substance to it. We have a duty not to allow your revered office to be misled, hijacked, politicized, distracted, misinformed and misdirected. Our position firmly remains that in the course of your office’s criminal investigation being awaited, searchlight should be beamed in the directions of both State and non-State actors. Your investigation at the end may most likely reveal that the insurgent terror groups and their sponsors are responsible for about 90% of war atrocities, while the belligerent State actors account for the remaining 10%.”

•Photo shows ICC Chief Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda.

Source News Express

Posted 15/09/2014 3:06:13 PM

 

 

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