A peaceful demonstration was held yesterday at the premises of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague where President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria delivered a keynote speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the court.
The protesters, under the aegis of Nigerian National Association-The Netherlands (NNA-NL) who gathered outside the premises of the court, condemned the leadership of the ICC for inviting the Nigerian leader “amidst the wanton killings of Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen”.
“These are crimes against humanity which the International Criminal Court is aware of,” the NNA-NL said in a statement.
“We demand answers to the massacre of unarmed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by security forces under President Buhari’s supervision, the massacre of the Shi’ite Muslims and the genocidal herdsmen who kill at will without any known consequences.”
The group also expressed its displeasure at the role played by the Embassy of Nigeria in The Netherlands in efforts to prevent them from holding the peaceful demonstration. The NNA-NL alleged that officials of the embassy wrote to the Dutch authorities to disallow the protest on the basis that they were members of an opposition party in Nigeria.
The group insisted the protest was intended to draw the attention of President Buhari to the unacceptable state of insecurity in Nigeria and had no partisan political motivation.
“The responsibility of the Embassy is to take care of the affairs of all Nigerians in the country of accreditation irrespective of religious, tribal or political differences,” they added.
“The attention of the Dutch government and the international community has been drawn to what is happening in Nigeria and something must be done as soon as possible.”
The ICC held an event on 16 and 17 July 2018 to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the ICC. High-level representatives of more than 30 countries as well as officials of international and regional organisations, civil society and academia attended the solemn ceremonies. Speakers reiterated their support for justice and accountability for the gravest crimes listed under the Rome Statute.
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Buhari in his keynote speech said: “A strong and effective ICC has the potential to send a powerful message about the international community’s commitment to accountability, a message that will be heard by both victims and perpetrators. Equally, a strong and effective ICC demonstrates the international community’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Several human rights groups in Nigeria have also criticised the ICC for inviting Buhari to the event.