At a press conference in the Nigerian capital Abuja on 22 January 2015, prof. Göran Sluiter, lawyer at Prakken d’Oliveira, called for the prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of Nigerian General and presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari for election violence in 2011. Prof. Sluiter is acting on behalf the Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice (a Nigerian consortium of NGO’s).
Prof. Sluiter also announced the upcoming filing of a criminal complaint against Buhari to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC. The complaint details the evidence against Buhari with regard to the election violence. That violence cost the lives of more than 800 innocent civilians and resulted in the displacement of some 65,000 persons. The inflammatory statements made by Buhari - in which reference was made to ‘killing’ and ‘lynching’- triggered the post-election violence and amounted to several crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC.
At the press conference, which was attended by a large number of international- and Nigerian media, prof. Sluiter drew comparisons with ongoing cases about election violence at the ICC, namely those with regard to Kenya and Ivory Coast. He stated that the 2011 Nigerian election violence was at least of comparable gravity. Furthermore, on behalf of the Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice, the hope was expressed that the possibility of ICC-investigations for all forms of election violence amounting to crimes against humanity would have a deterrent and positive effect in respect of the 2015 elections. Those elections should be free, fair and above all peaceful.