r Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has tasked Amnesty International to lead the human rights community to demand justice in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Falana, also a Human Rights Activist, gave this charge at a media parley organised by Amnesty International in Lagos on Thursday.
He commended Amnesty International for its achievements but accused it of being hypocritical concerning ” atrocities perpetrated by western governments and Israel.”
“Isreal supported by the United States and other western countries are prosecuting an agenda to destroy unharmed people, including children.
“There have been mass felling of children, such that you cry when you watch the goings-on on television and see how children are being killed.
“You cannot defeat an organisation by unleashing violence, no. you must address the crises 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 him, 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 talk less of charged. Amnesty International must spearhead the human rights community to demand that justice be done in the case of Israel,” he said.
War broke out between Israel and Hamas after Hamas fighters, on Oct.7, fired rockets into Israel and stormed the southern Israeli cities and towns across the border of the Gaza Strip.
The fighters killed more than 1400 Israelis and injured over 3300, taking hundreds hostage after the surprise attack.
The on-going war is the most significant escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in several decades.
Coming to Nigeria, Falana said the media and citizenry had a big role to play in putting an end to human rights abuses, including illegal arrests 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 arrests and detentions 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.