Nigerian civil society calls on lawmakers to pass international crimes bill

 

The Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide and Related Offences Bill, 2012 provides for the punishment of those responsible for international crimes in Nigeria, as well as for cooperation between Nigeria and the ICC to ensure the effective prosecution of criminals.

The Nigerian Coalition believes that the “Rome Statute Bill” offers a holistic approach to the fight against impunity in Nigeria as “it addresses crimes committed by both Boko Haram members and Nigerian security forces that may have gone beyond the established rules of engagement in their conduct during the counter insurgency activities.”

The Bill also envisages a Special Victims Trust Fund (STVF) to assist victims, families of victims and survivors of international crimes in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Coalition said the STFV would complement the Committee on Victims Support Fund (CVSF)—set up last month by the government for victims of atrocities allegedly committed by the Boko Haram rebel group.

It called for the STFV to be operationalized as soon as possible.

With statutory power to raise and manage funds to assist victims, clear terms of reference should be put in place to guide the activities of the STVF, the Nigerian Coalition added.

The Rome Statute Bill also envisages oversight responsibility for lawmakers over funds raised by the CVSF.

The Nigerian Coalition called on the government “to ensure that programmes to raise funds for victims of international crimes are not turned into political arenas and that funds earmarked for the support and assistance of such victims in Nigeria are strictly utilized for that purpose alone.”

Nigeria ratified the Rome Statute treaty in 2001 and attempted twice without success to incorporate the provisions of the treaty into national law. The current bill was submitted to the national assembly by the government on 17 July 2012

As an executive bill it only needs the endorsement of the leaders of the house of representatives and senate to set the process of domestication in motion in the national assembly.

In 2010, the ICC prosecutor announced a preliminary examination into the situation in Nigeria.

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