ECOWAS Court to deliver judgment on herdsmen killings

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice, Abuja will on April 22, 2021 deliver judgment in a case on killings, raping, maiming of Nigerians and other residents, and destruction of property across Nigeria by suspected herdsmen.

The court disclosed this after it heard arguments in the case brought by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project against the Federal Government on Friday.

The ECOWAS court adjourned the suit after hearing arguments from Solicitor to SERAP, Femi Falana, SAN, and the government lawyer, Mr Adedayo Ogundele.

In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/15/16, SERAP is seeking justice and accountability for the authorities’ failure to prevent, account for, and investigate killings, raping, maiming of Nigerians and other residents, and destruction of property across the country by herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators.

The suit read in part, “SERAP also contends that the obligation to secure the right to life is not confined to cases where it has been established that the killings were caused by an agent of the State. Nor is it decisive whether those affected or their families have lodged a formal complaint about the killings with the competent investigatory authority.

“It is contended that the mere knowledge of the killings by the military, police, herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators on the part of the authorities have ipso facto given rise to an obligation under Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to carry out an effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killings and to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and to provide reparations to victims.”

SERAP also contends that “the Defendant has a positive obligation to take measures to secure the right to life, right to security and dignity of the human person and right to property, and to prevent attacks and killings by the military, police, herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators across Nigeria.

“Human life has a special value and dignity which requires legal protection. It should be pointed out that those affected in the present case include the most disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of society.”

“A fundamental notion of contemporary human rights law is that victims of violations enjoy an independent right to effective remedies. This idea is itself founded on another longstanding legal principle: ubi ius ibi remedium (there is no right without a remedy).”