Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has tasked Amnesty International to lead the human rights community to demand for justice in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Falana, also a human rights activist, gave this charge at a media parley held in Lagos on Thursday by Amnesty International.
He commended Amnesty International for its achievements but accused it of being hypocritical when it came to atrocities perpetrated by western governments and Israel.
“Two terrorist organisations, Hamas and Israeli government, two terrorist institutions have continued to kill unarmed civilians, innocent people though granted that Hamas has not apologised for its actions.
“Isreal supported by the United States and other western countries are prosecuting, an agenda to destroy unharmed people, including children.
“There have been mass feelings of children, such that you cry when you watch the goings-on on television and see how children are being killed.
“You cannot defeat a terrorist organisation by unleashing violence, no, you must address the crisis that led to the emergence of the organisation.
“Internationally, collective punishment is prohibited in the Geneva Convention,’’ Falana said.
He stressed that what Israel was doing in prosecuting war with Hamas in the Gaza strip was tantamount to crimes against humanity and genocidal acts.
According to the SAN, if the occurrence had been committed the other way round, the west would have ordered for the Israeli prime minister to be arrested through the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Compare the atrocities perpetrated so far in Gaza to the crisis in Ukraine. What did Putin do that the west ensured that the ICC-controlled by them ordered his arrest?
“Yet, nobody has even suggested that Prime Minister Netayanhu be arrested talkless of charges. Amnesty International must spearhead the human rights community to demand that justice be done in the case of Israel,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that war broke out between Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that has controlled Gaza since 2006, in the most significant escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in several decades.
On Oct. 7, Hamas fighters fired rockets into Israel and stormed the southern Israeli cities and towns across the border of the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1300 Israelis, injuring 3300 and taking hundreds hostages.
The attack took Israel by surprise, though the state quickly mounted a deadly retaliatory operation, one day after the Oct. 7 attack, the Israeli cabinet formally declared war against Hamas.
Coming to Nigeria, Falana said the media and citizenry had a large role to play in putting an end to human rights abuses, including illegal arrest and detention.
He said that Section 34 of the Administration of Human Justice Act and section 70 of the Police Establishment Act had imposed a duty on chief magistrates, to at least visit all police stations in their magisterial district once a month.
“During the visit, the magistrate can grant bail, order release of persons or order for persons to be charged to court.
“If that happens monthly in our country, and if all the 5000 police stations are visited by their magistrates, today, illegal arrest and detention will be a thing of the past.
“The same goes for other detention centres.
“Under the same laws, the chief judge of the Federal High Court shall designate judges to visit all other detention facilities be it Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), or the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and military detention centres.
“One thing we have not mentioned and really understood is the role the media played in fighting corruption to a standstill in the 70s. There were no EFCC and ICPC. The media must live up to its reputation,” Falana said. (NAN)