Nigeria Digest #25

File_Photo

Islamic Human Rights Commission
NIGERIA DIGEST 24 FEBRUARY 2018 (Volume 2 Issue 10)

Introduction
Action Alert
Articles and Resources Digest

INTRODUCTION

Below please find an update on the regular daily sit out and protests by campaign groups in Abuja and Kaduna, an update on ICC preliminary investigation report 2017 seeking further clarification to prosecute Nigerian officials and the Amnesty 2017/18 report highlighting some of the rights abuses faced by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

The ICC preliminary examination report for 2017 had an important update, as well as some issues that need clarifying and we request campaigners to raise concerns about the needed clarification.

To find out more about the Zaria massacre, read IHRC’s submission to the International Criminal Court HERE

To find out how you can help further, please visit the IHRC FreeZakzaky campaign page HERE

Note: To enable images in this digest please click on “always show content from this sender” – on top of your email just under sender’s address.

Free Zakzaky!

Update on International Criminal Court Investigation

The ICC report for 2017 contained an important update. They stated that they had reached a preliminary finding and that they would seek further clarification from the Nigerian Government.

The text about the Zaria case:

During the reporting period, the Office further continued its factual and legal analysis of other allegations of crimes unrelated to the armed conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces. In that regard, the Office carefully examined the events of December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State, involving clashes between members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (“IMN”) and Nigerian security forces. It is alleged that members of the IMN armed with batons, knives, and machetes stopped the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff on a principle road in Zaria on 12 December 2015 and that in subsequent security operations, the Nigerian military killed at least 349 persons (men, women, and children) while at least 66 others were injured. On the basis of information available, including the report of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry established by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the events, the Office has reached preliminary findings and will seek further clarifications from the Nigerian authorities. (emphasis added, paragraph 213, https://www.icc-cpi.int/itemsDocuments/2017-PE-rep/2017-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf)

The ICC declined to explain what the preliminary finding was or what issues they were seeking clarification on, explaining that the this was part of discussions between the Office of the Prosecutor and the Nigerian authorities.

While we do not know what their preliminary findings are, this is a positive step as it shows that the ICC believe there are matters of concern that need to be addressed.

One note of caution, the ICC report states “It is alleged that members of the IMN armed with batons, knives, and machetes stopped the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff on a principle road in Zaria on 12 December 2015”. Despite numerous investigations and reports by various bodies in Nigeria, not a single shred of evidence has been presented showing members of IMN armed and ready to attack soldiers. In fact, all the pictures and videos from the day show soldiers walking around IMN buildings at a leisurely pace without any fear for their safety, before opening fire without any provocation on unarmed IMN supporters. While the ICC report does include the caveat “alleged”, it does not present the victims perspective, and unfairly presents them as the instigators of the violence that took place over those fateful three days.

If the ICC is to be an effective and impartial body that holds perpetrators of international crimes to account, it needs to avoid victim blaming. Caveats do not obviate the fact that the victims have been falsely accused of violence thereby giving credence to the governments false claim that this was a law and order operation to contain IMN violence. The ICC needs to be more responsible, it cannot become a vehicle for perpetrators of grave crimes against humanity to peddle false narratives against their victims.

We will await the ICC’s final determination.

ACTION ALERT: Raise Your Concern About ICC Preliminary Examination & Demand ICC To Avoid Victim Blaming

1. Write to the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, model letter/email provided below;
2. Please forward any response you receive to IHRC on info@ihrc.org.

Model email / letter

For the attention of Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Dear Ms Bensouda,

I am writing to raise my concern about the ICC Preliminary examination into the massacre committed by the Nigerian army in Zaria, Nigeria in December 2015.

In the Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2017 it states, “It is alleged that members of the IMN armed with batons, knives, and machetes stopped the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff on a principle road in Zaria on 12 December 2015”.

This characterisation of Islamic Movement of Nigeria’s (IMN) supporters in this report is false and alarming. Despite numerous investigations and reports by various bodies in Nigeria, not a single shred of credible evidence has been presented showing members of IMN armed and ready to attack soldiers. In fact, all the pictures and videos from the attack show soldiers walking around IMN buildings at a leisurely pace without any fear for their safety as they took their position, before opening fire without any provocation on unarmed IMN supporters. The Islamic Human Rights Commission has documented this extensively in their communication to the ICC (https://ihrc.org.uk/publications/reports/11646-investigating-the-attack-against-the-islamic-movement-of-nigeria-on-12-13-december-2015-in-zaria) and on their website (https://ihrc.org.uk).

While the ICC report does state the word “alleged”, it does not present the victims perspective, and unfairly presents them as the instigators of the violence that took place over those fateful three days.

If the ICC is to be an effective and impartial body that holds perpetrators of international crimes to account, it needs to avoid victim blaming. Caveats do not avoid the fact that the ICC has regurgitated a narrative in which the victims are falsely accused of violence thereby giving credence to the governments false claim that this was a law and order operation to contain IMN violence. The ICC needs to be more responsible, it cannot become a vehicle for perpetrators of grave crimes against humanity to peddle false narratives against their victims.

I am pleased to hear that the ICC has reached preliminary findings and will be seeking further clarifications from the Nigerian authorities. Given my concerns above, I would like to know what the ICC will do to get clarification / information from IMN, the victims of the army’s attack, those who remain imprisoned without trial as well as the witnesses who saw the army’s unprovoked criminal behaviour.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

By Mail:
Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
Information and Evidence Unit
Office of the Prosecutor
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
The Netherlands

By Email: otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

Via twitter: @IntlCrimCourt / @CourPenaleInt, please use the hashtags: #FatouBensouda and #ICC


ARTICLES AND RESOURCES

Massive Free Zakzaky Protest in Abuja
23 February 2018

Thousands of Nigerians came out on Friday 23 February 2018 in capital Abuja demanding release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, detained unlawfully by Nigerian authorities despite court orders to set him free.

Friday_1Friday_2

Amnesty Includes Some Rights Abuses Faced By Islamic Movement In Its 2017/2018 Report
23 February 2018
Amnesty International (AI), has released its 2017/2018 Human Rights report on Thursday 22nd February, 2018 outlining some of the rights abuses faced by the leader and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
Sheikh “Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and his wife remained in incommunicado detention without trial since their arrest in December 2015 despite a court ordering their release and compensation.” Click Here to read the report.

Free Zakzaky Protest in Kaduna Friday Night
23 February 2018
Peaceful Free Sheikh Zakzaky Protest staged this night, today, Friday, 23rd of February, 2018, in Kaduna.The protest kicked off from H/Danmani Junction, along Namdi Azikiwe by-pass, Kaduna.

It matched chanting voice calling for Nigerian President Buhari to obey court order and free the leader as ordered by a federal high court in Abuja, since December, 12, 2016, but they pay no heed to the order.

Kaduna1Kaduna_2

The Abuja SIT-OUT: A Unanimous Quest For Justice
22 February 2018 – Yusuf M. Abdullahi

In the name of Allah who states “O Dawood! Surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between men with justice and do not follow desire, lest it shall lead you astray from the path of Allah; (as for) who go astray from the path of Allah, they shall surely have severe punishment because they forgot the day of reckoning” Q38:26. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant, our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.

The piece for this week is on the Abuja sit-out organised by the Concerned Nigerians under the leadership of Deji Adeyanju which has entered its second month. The interesting thing about the Unity Fountain programme is the unity it signifies. Regardless of tribal, religious and geographical differences, Nigerians unanimously converge in the fountain in quest of justice to their oppressed fellows. The programme feature citizens from various walks of life concerned with the unity and progress of the nation using their constitutional right to express their views, and to draw the attention of those in authority on the repercussion of the tyranny meted against the Islamic Movement especially in acclaimed democratic setting mandated to respond to the needs and yearnings of the citizenry. No doubt the unanimous sympathy notwithstanding humanitarian nature owes a lot to the responsible and insightful leadership of the Shaikh widely known and hailed in the unity, peaceful coexistence and ethno-religious tolerance of Nigeria…

Sitout

Govt Trying To Obliterate the Mention Of “Free Zakzaky”
22 February 2018
It appears that the government is increasingly becoming uncomfortable with the phrase “Free Zakzaky” by the day and it is spending sleepless nights in trying to obliterate it or substitute it.

A team of so-called experts have been commissioned to find alternatives that would serve to distract attention and be what will rather occupy the minds of members of the Islamic Movement. A source close to the devilish plot was quoted as saying, “in the next few days, they will begin to discard that slogan and assume some we will create for them.”

According to them, each time the words “Free Zakzaky” is mentioned, it is a sad reminder to the world that they are being unjustifiably treated through the detention of their leader, and this is embarrassing to the government. “We have to make them change course,” the source said…

Yet Another Massive FreeZakzaky Protest Rock Abuja
21 February 2018
Thousands of Nigerians in Abuja matched for #Zakzaky & stormed the National Assembly demanding for the release of Sh #Zakzaky from illegal detention. Watch following Press Tv report of Free Zakzaky procession that rocked the capital of Nigeria, Abuja on Day 801 of the illegal detention of Sheikh Zakzaky, CLICK HERE to watch the report.

Regular Free Zakzaky protest in Abuja
20 February 2018
Another Free Sheikh Zakzkay Protest in Abuja on Tuesday the 20th of Feb 2018 in Abuja.

Abuja_FridayAbuja_Friday_2

Army Seeks To Hide Spokesman, Kukasheka; Replaces Him
22 February 2018

In what appears to be a sinister tactical move, the indicted Nigerian Army has started redeployment of key officers who have been identified to have played key or commanding roles in the Zaria massacre of December, 2015.

The aim, according to our source, is to make them less visible to the public until such a time when the matter of the Zaria mass killings and their roles in it is totally forgotten…

Reflections:
Communication To The ICC Prosecutor: The Attack Against The Islamic Movement In Nigeria, December 2015
20 February 2018 – By FreeZakzaky online

The Nigerian army carried out massive attacks over the course of 12 and 13 December 2015 which targeted the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria.

The operation resulted in the deaths of at least 1000 unarmed civilians, mostly IMN members, killed by gunshots attributed to soldiers. Hundreds more were injured. There were reports that the military blocked access to medical care for the injured and shot at and killed wounded persons. Witnesses and victims reported signs of widespread force and cruelty with allegations of looting, arson, mutilation, mass graves, torture, rape and other inhumane acts levelled at the
Nigerian army.

The supporting materials and eyewitness accounts further indicate that such massive acts of violence were carried out in the context of a widespread and systematic attack against the Nigerian civilian population. The violence unleashed on members of the IMN has a history and it is a history of premeditation.

There is also sufficient evidence to suggest an official plan by Nigerian government officials to cover up these crimes and indeed perpetuate the same…

{jathumbnailoff}

——————————————————————————————
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222

Email: info@ihrc.org

Web: www.ihrc.org

Twitter @ihrc

The opinions expressed in this email do not necessarily reflect the views of IHRC

Copyright © 2017 IHRC, All rights reserved.