Femi Falana Says, Nigerian Victims Of Slave Trade In Libya Can’t Sue Libya
Speaking on the repatriation of Nigerians who witnessed the slave trade in Libya, Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, has said that the returnees will have no grounds to file a lawsuit against Libya for the violation of their rights during their stay in the country.
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In a statement which he made on Sunday concerning the slave trade in Libya, Falana said that the Nigerian Victims have been denied access to the International Court as a result of the failure of the Nigerian government to make a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the court, a reversal of which the victims would have been able to approach the African Court and Peoples Rights located in Arusha, Tanzania.
He stated, “Since the jurisdiction of the community court is limited to the West African sub-region, Nigerians whose rights are breached in other African countries would have been able to seek redress in the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights sitting in Arusha, Tanzania.
“But that is not possible as the Federal Government has refused to make a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in line with Article 34(6) of the Protocol establishing the African Court which provides that ‘At the time of the ratification of this Protocol or any time thereafter the State shall make a declaration accepting the competence of the court to receive petitions under Article 5(3) of this Protocol.
“‘The court shall not receive any petition under Article 5(3) involving a state party which has not made such a declaration.’”
He said although, Libya too had not accepted the jurisdictional competence of the African Court, “the victims of the illegal slave trade in that country could have submitted a petition to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and thereafter apply that the communication be referred to the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights for judicial determination.”
”But since Nigeria has not facilitated access to the African Court, the victims of the slave trade in Libya have been left without any legal remedy whatsoever.
“In other words, the infringement of the human rights of the victims to dignity and freedom from discrimination guaranteed by articles 2 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights cannot be challenged in the African Court.”
Falana urged the Nigerian Government to compensate the victims and to accept the jurisdiction of the African Court by the 31st of December 2017, threatening to sue the the Federal Government if his demand was not met.