Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project is pleading with the United Nations to intervene in order to stop the execution of soldiers by the Nigerian Army.
54 soldiers were tried and sentenced to death by firing squad by General Court Martial for alleged offences of mutiny and conspiracy to commit mutiny.
In a petition dated December 23, and addressed to a group of five United Nations special human rights rapporteurs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, SERAP said the mass death sentence imposed on the soldiers was “unjust and incompatible with fundamental human rights.”
The group’s statement quoted its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, as saying that the mass trial of the soldiers did not guarantee the highest standards of fairness, due process and justice.
The death sentences, Mumuni added in the petition, failed to meet the basic requirements of fair trials, noting that the UN rights experts should urgently request the Nigerian government and its military authorities to quash the capital punishment imposed on the 54 soldiers.
“Under international law, cases involving capital punishment such as the present one require the full and scrupulous respect of the guarantees of highest standards of fairness, due process and justice.
“Besides, the issues raised by the soldiers suggest lack of transparency, accountability and general deficiencies in the way the security budget and arms purchases are decided and controlled.”
The SERAP executive director expressed confidence in the ability of the UN rights experts to “individually and jointly” weigh it upon the Nigerian authorities to exercise their legal authority to “commute the death sentences” and pardon the 54 soldiers.