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Demolished Shiites’ Religious Site: Nigeria In Danger Of ICC War Crime Charge

Nigeria attracted ICC wrath over the destruction of the religious site “Hussainiyya” belonging to Shiites, aka Islamic Movement of Nigeria [IMN].
Fencing of demolished Hussainiyya currently ongoing in Zaria by the government

Nigeria might have attracted the wrath of the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the destruction of the religious site “Hussainiyya” belonging to Shiites, also known as Islamic Movement of Nigeria [IMN].

Unbeknownst to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, prosecutors of ICC might decide to press criminal charges against the Nigerian government.

Recall that operatives of the Nigerian Army had raided the official residence of the leader of the Shiites’ movement, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and massacred hundreds of faithfuls.

Hot done with that, the marauding band of soldiers thereafter raided the religious headquarter of IMN and demolished it to the ground.

Still not done with the carnage, the soldiers attacked other religious sites, including the burial place of past Shiite faithfuls, including the tomb of late mother of Zakzaky.

And now, the latest assault was the Federal government’s move to confiscate their Islamic Centre located in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Elombah.com reliably gathered that the government is presently fencing the demolished site which will guarantee the sealed confiscation on the part of the government.

In case they don’t know, let it be known to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo that destruction of religious site like Zaria Hussainiyya is a war crime according to the Rome Status that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Article 5 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, while listing the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, gave special emphasis to the crime of genocide.

Read the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In defining genocide as a crime against humanity, articles 121 and 123 defined the crime and set out the conditions under which the Court shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to this crime.

Article 6 says that genocide, for the purpose of this Statute, means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or RELIGIOUS GROUP [emphasis ours].

Article 7, defined crimes against humanity as any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

(a) Murder;

(b) Extermination; 

(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;

(f) Torture;

(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.

Recently, ICC prosecution on October 13, 2015, targeted destruction of ancient religious sites as a war crime, or crime against humanity.

ICC launched a unique prosecution for destruction of historical artifacts.

In one sense, it is the first of its kind, representing uncharted territory for an organization that has used its resources mainly to target the most heinous of war crimes, such as genocide or the use of child soldiers.

The case comes at a significant time as ISIS has consistently been in the news for the past year for either destroying or selling priceless historical artifacts in the Middle Eastern areas it has occupied.

The man on trial was Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, a leader of Ansar Dine, a Qaeda-affiliated organization in Mali.

He allegedly planned and helped oversee the bulldozing of nine tombs and a mosque at a U.N. World Heritage Site that had been actively preserved since the Middle Ages.

Mali requested help from the ICC in prosecuting those responsible. The trial began in January 2016.

Hopefully, the case against al-Mahdi is ICC’s first step toward giving teeth to these provisions. Such attacks affect humanity as a whole. 

Read the full report on ICC prosecution targets destruction of ancient religious sites.

Presently, the Shiites organisation may approach the ICC and press for charges against the federal government which will, no doubt, have devastating consequences on the already battered Nigerian image in the international community.

It is also mentioning that the IMN leader, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife have been held in detention since December 2015.

The Kaduna State Urban Planning & Development Agency (KASUPDA) and its officials however claimed ignorance of the development at the site when contacted.

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