The Socio-Economic rights and Accountability Projects (SERAP) has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the hate speech of the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini which led to the killings of foreign nationals in South Africa.
According to Adetokunbo Mumuni, the executive director of SERAP, the NGO ‘considers the use of speech by the Zulu King to promote hatred and /or incite violence against non- nationals such as Nigerians, particularly in the media as a clear violation of the provisions of the Rome statute of International Criminal Court.
Grave statements by political leaders and prominent people that express discrimination and cause violence against non-nationals cannot be justified under the 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 reasonability under the Rome statute of the ICC. The statement of the Zulu King contributed to a climate of fear, demonization and dehumanisation of Nigerians and other African citizens, thus violating their human dignity through humiliation and expulsion from the human community.
In the Mugesera case, the Canadian Supreme Court held that hate speech may constitute persecution, even if it does not result in the commission of acts of violence. In arriving at this conclusion, the court considered that a link was demonstrated between the speech at the issue and the widespread or systematic jurisprudence generally establishes that hate speech not urging an audience to commit imminent violence can constitute persecution.
The government does not have the political will to bring those suspected to be responsible for crimes under international law to justice. Given the complicity /negligence by the country’s law enforcement agencies to prevent the violence, killing and discrimination, it is unlikely that the government will take any serious action to bring perpetrators to justice.
“IPOB is being sponsored by those I will call the Coalition of the politically disgruntled and the treasury looters. They believe that by sponsoring this group to destabilize the country and trigger chaos, they will realize their ambition of escaping justice and then be free to dip their hands into the nation’s treasury again.”
-Lai Mohammed(Nigeria’s Information Minister on IPOB)
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