ICC May Prosecute El-Rufai Over ‘Body Bag’ Threat – Falana

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has said Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court, ICC, over his “body bag” statement.

Falana said the only thing that could save El-Rufai from being prosecuted was if no foreign election observer died in the country.

He, however, challenged the United States and the United Kingdom, which had threatened a visa ban against any politician who makes inciting comments, to use El-Rufai as an example.

Falana made this call in a paper he delivered at a public lecture organised by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in honour of the late Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, who passed on 13 years ago.

He said, “Last week (sic), Mr Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, threatened that foreign election observers and monitors who interfere in the 2019 general elections would ‘return to their countries in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country’.

“It is indisputable that the threat to attack and kill foreign election observers in Nigeria constitutes an infraction of the Electoral Act, 2010 and the Penal Code. But because the governor, El-Rufai, currently enjoys immunity his trial and prosecution for the offence will have to await the end of his tenure.

“The western countries that have threatened to place travel restrictions on members of the ruling class who incite violence or interfere in the electoral process should not hesitate to make an example of the governor without any further delay.

“The Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, who has also warned against any form of electoral violence in the country, is urged to hold Governor El-Rufai responsible if foreign observers and monitors are killed during the 2019 general elections.”

The activist lawyer, however, accused the western nations of hypocrisy, noting that they kept mum when hundreds of Shi’ites were killed in the country.

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