Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister, for the mis-appropriation of the recovered $322 million Sani Abacha loot.
In a petition dated January 19, 2016 and sent to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, Mr. Falana added that Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, Former Minister of Finance, should be prosecuted for failing to prevent systematic and widespread corruption.
The ICC is empowered by an international treaty to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
Thus, Falana, in his letter, demands investigations into crimes against humanity committed against the Nigerian people by some former and serving military as well public officials and private persons who engaged in the criminal diversion of $8 billion earmarked to procure equipment for the armed forces to fight insurgency.
The lawyer also sought the prosecution of Col Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), the former national security adviser, saying his trial by the Nigerian Government should not stop the international body from probing him.
“We strongly believe that allegations of corruption so far made against Col. Sambo Dasuki and other public officers have had catastrophic effects on the lives of over 25,000 Nigerian soldiers and civilians including children akin to crimes against humanity as contemplated under the Rome Statute and within the jurisdiction of the Court,” the petition read in part.
“We believe that the staggering amount of public funds alleged to have been stolen create just these consequences. Crimes against humanity are not only physical violence; allegations of corruption highlighted above hold a comparable gravity, which the Prosecutor should examine and thoroughly investigate.
“The elements that need to be established to prove a “crime against humanity “under article 7(1)(k) of the Rome Statute are that, the perpetrator inflicted great suffering or serious injury by means of an inhumane act; that the perpetrator was aware of the circumstances, and that the act was committed within a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population; and that the perpetrator knew of that link.
“We believe that these allegations of widespread and systematic corruption amount to crimes against humanity and therefore clear violations of the provisions of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. These allegations have given rise to individual criminal responsibility of those suspected of perpetrating corruption, as entrenched in the Rome Statute.
“We therefore submit that this is sufficient to hold Col Dasuki and others that have been indicted in the arms theft scandal responsible for crimes against humanity perpetrated against Nigerians. The failure of a former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to prevent widespread and systematic corruption including the re-looting of the Abacha loot amounts to complicity under the Rome Statute, and therefore fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity.
“In this respect, I also urge you to commence an investigation proprio motu on the allegations of the criminal diversion of the security fund of $2.1 billion and N643 billion earmarked by suspected perpetrators, with a view to determining whether these amount to crimes against humanity within the court’s jurisdiction.”