According to Femi Falana, a leading African human rights lawyer, a majority of Nigerians prefer to outsource the prosecution of politicians accused of corruption and theft.
Mr. Falana made this statement while addressing a large audience of diplomats, law professors, and human rights experts at the headquarters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the inauguration of the Africa Group on Justice and Accountability (AGJA).
He explained that the ICC remains popular in Nigeria due to the impunity members of the ruling class possess in that country.
The human rights lawyer thanked the Special Prosecutor of the ICC, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, for her stern warning to Nigerian politicians during the 2015 general election to not engage in politically motivated violence lest they run afoul of the Rome Statute.
It was this warning, Mr. Falana explained, that caused former President Obasanjo to warn President Goodluck Jonathan to avoid the “Gbagbo treatment”, reference to the ousted Ivorian President.
Mr. Falana acknowledged that the United Nations Security Council practiced “unwarranted selectivity” when referring cases of genocide and crimes. In order to combat this trend, he called upon the global human rights community to challenge members of the international community on this double standard.
Despite these criticisms, Mr. Falana dismissed the allegations that the ICC was established solely to target African heads of state and governments.
He concluded his speech with a call to his fellow African lawyers to stop the manipulation of the criminal justice systems in their home countries.