NAN – The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on Thursday, April 23, 2015 dragged South Africa before the International Criminal Court over xenophobic attack on Nigerians and other foreigners living in the former apartheid enclave.
The Executive Director of SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the body had sent a petition dated Thursday, April 23, 2015 which he addressed to the ICC Prosecutor, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The Federal Government had on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 invited the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Lulu Louis –Mnguni, over the xenophobia attacks on Nigerians and other blacks residing in the country.
The attacks, which started last week, followed the hate-speech by the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, that non-indigenes should vacate the country. Zwelithini accused the non-indigenes of taking up employment opportunities meant for South African nationals.
SERAP said Bensounda should investigate the allegations of hate-speech by Zwelithini, which it said had resulted in the xenophobic attacks.
It requested Bensouda to probe the complicity and negligence of the country’s law enforcement agencies to prevent crimes against other countries’ civilian population residing in South Africa.
The group also urged the ICC prosecutor to bring to justice anyone found to be responsible for international crimes prohibited under the Rome Statute of the ICC.
SERAP said that it considered the use of speech by the Zulu King to promote hatred or incite violence against non-nationals such as Nigerians, particularly in the media, as a clear violation of the provisions of the statute.
It stated, “Grave statements by political leaders and prominent people that express discrimination and cause violence against non-nationals cannot be justified under any law.
“This hate-speech generated fear and hatred that created the conditions for violence and discrimination against Nigerians and other African citizens.
“SERAP believes that this has given rise to individual criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
It argued that the statement by the Zulu King amounted to a harmful form of expression, which incited or otherwise promoted hatred, discrimination, violence and intolerance.
“We are seriously concerned that crimes against humanity are often accompanied or preceded by the kind of statement made by the Zulu King, SERAP said.”