By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked a group of five United Nations human rights independent experts to individually and jointly use their “good offices and positions to urgently request the Nigerian government and its military authorities not to carry out the mass death sentences imposed on 54 Nigerian soldiers for what the government claimed was disobeying a direct order from their commanding officer.”
The five special rapporteurs are: Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Juan Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; Mads Andenas, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.
“You have consistently and jointly taken similar actions in the past including with respect to Egypt, and we respectfully urge you to follow this path in the instance case to continue your record of working to end the death penalty in all countries,” the organization urged the experts.
In a petition dated December 23, 2014, signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni the group said that, “It is not right or fair to try everyone in mass proceedings, and that such unfair trial should not send someone to the gallows. Imposition of mass death sentences is in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is a party. This Covenant limits the circumstances in which a state can impose the death sentence”, it stated.