Army officers, other perpetrators of Shia massacre in Nigeria risk death penalty, life imprisonment–CSOs

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A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), under the auspices of Centrum Initiative For Development and Fundamental Rights Advocacy and Advocate Movement, on Saturday, said that security agents found culpable in the Shia massacre risk death penalty or life imprisonment.

The orgsnisation made this known in a statement signed by conveners of the group, Dr Hasan Bala, Geoffrey N Nwokolo Esq, Prince Adelaje Adeoye, DR. Y.B. Abubakar, among others.

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The group stated that the Nigerian constitution has never been silent on outlining the fundamental human rights of its citizens as enshrined in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

According to the CSOs, the constitution in respect to these rights states that “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria (Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution).”

“On July 4, 2020, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisation under the Centrum Initiative for Development and Fundamental Rights Advocacy, held a press conference on ‘Insecurity and violations of Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria,’ where the gross violation of the fundamental human rights was that of the proscribed Nigerian Shia Muslims under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky which include; Murder, destruction of properties and unconstitutional arrests were identified.

“Between 12 and 14th December, 2015, the Nigerian Army burnt alive, maimed, raped, demolished homes and buried hundreds of male and female of the Nigerian Shia Muslims in a mass grave in Kaduna State (Mando).

“These crimes committed against the Shia minority can never be forgotten in our strive for the desired human rights to be shaped within the Nigerian democratic system.

“The ill-treatment of members of this religious minority group and their leader, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, that are kept in custody incommunicado with severe bullet wounds all over their bodies in continuous disregard and contempt of an Abuja High Court order to release them and pay them the sum of 50 million Naira as compensation as fully documented.

“Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of customary rules of international law, Anti Torture Act of 2017, which prohibit all sort of torture and persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious are indeed a crimes against humanity.

Base on the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession by General Assembly Resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948 – Entry into force: 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII , the following Articles I – IV states that:

“The contracting parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

“In the present convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

The group reminded that acts such as genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; Aattempt to commit genocide and complicity in genocide, shall be punishable

“Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals,” the CSOs remarked.

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