More facts are becoming known about the substance of the case that will determine the fate of some 20 Nigerian citizens accused of committing crimes against humanity. Judicial and political analysts view the case against Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and former Governor Peter Odili as detrimental to their political career since the International Criminal Court can punish and prescribe reparative measures. Initial effort by the Ogoni people to get the authorities in Nigeria to hold the accused accountable was not successful.
In a strictly confidential 81-word-Review letter early October, an officer of the court declares that the International Criminal Court “is considering the case” filed by Hon. Goodluck Diigbo, MOSOP President/Spokesman. This means that Odili and Amaechi may already be facing trial without knowing. The court process remains secret until the public participation stage. Nigeria endorses this kind of process as a party to Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; making it possible for citizens of Nigeria to be subjected to the court process without their initial knowledge. Many people in Rivers State welcome the ICC case as a significant step to prevent pre-election and post-election bloodshed in Nigeria in the upcoming 2011 General Elections. The Accused were allegedly involved in the “Carry-Go Policy and Practice with bloody violence and severe deprivation with impunity,” that characterized recent general elections in Nigeria.
The International Criminal Court Case in The Hague, The Netherlands is to provide redress for the Ogoni victims of crimes against humanity perpetrated by former Odili and Governor Amaechi and others. A MOSOP Research Fellow, Tambari Deekor speaking from a vantage position disclosed that documents and materials have been tended strongly to show commission of the crimes. The principles governing the pre-investigation and pre-chamber trial phases are seriously protected.
Diigbo had filed the case in his capacity as the President, Partnership for Indigenous Peoples Environment; PIPE (an International NGO in special consultative status with Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC & United Nations Department of Public Information, DPI).
The crimes were committed in 2004 post-election violence and during other incidents surrounding circumstances calculated to tarnish the January 4, 2010 annual Ogoni Day activities. In the related Ogoni Day acts, one primary school headmaster, Late Mr. Ndikeh Ndeemor was murdered and one Mr. Matthew Dighi was kidnapped in connection with plans orchestrated by Governor Amaechi. Scores of Ogoni children, men and women were seriously injured. In the first chain of 2004 crimes, lasting almost four years, over 40,000 children, men and women were sacked from the seventeen (17) villages of Bua Teyork in the Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. 115 people were murdered from Teyork; 512 declared missing and 3,004 residential houses completely destroyed.
Diigbo relied upon various wide ranging provisions under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court that take seriously individual criminal responsibility (Article 25), and the irrelevance of official capacity (Article 26) and the responsibility of those issuing orders such as commanders and other superiors (Article 28) and other operating guidelines and laws empowering the Prosecutor, including, but not limited to other provisions in (Article 29- 33).
“I hereby put on records that certain and most of the “Accused” are persons of high political office and societal influence who are accustomed to evading judicial process and not allowing themselves to be put on trial for crimes in Nigeria. Elections in Nigeria are considered as “Green Cards”, characterized by desperate moves, even in the nonprofit sector,” said Diigbo.
Diigbo maintained in his submission that the ICC is the only independent institution to deal with the crimes committed in Nigeria as the Nigerian authorities have not shown any genuine interest in initiating investigation and prosecution into the atrocities since 2004 and early 2010.
The Accused have inflicted this Carry-Go Criminal Policy and Practice of “severe deprivation of Liberty” upon innocent people who have no way of holding them accountable. I am continuously puzzled that the government has not said anything about the dead or the missing. There has been “widespread” and “systematic” violations embedded within the political system in Nigeria in ways that constitute violation of Rome Statute article 7(1). The accused persons are viewed as constituting a danger not only to the future of Nigeria, but the shrinking global village. Diigbo is also the Executive Director of the Global Village Congress, an international organization in Washington DC and in The Netherlands.