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Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah seeks order to move his case to ICC

Henry Okah was convicted by the High Court in Johannesburg and handed 24 years for the March 2013 attacks that killed 12 people and injured 36 in Nigeria.

FILE: Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah was convicted of 13 terrorism charges, including the 2010 independence day bombings in Abuja. Okah was found guilty of masterminding attacks including twin car bombings in Abuja on 1 October 2010. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for convicted Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah have argued that South African courts have no jurisdiction to try him for the bombing in the Niger Delta region.

Okah was convicted by the High Court in Johannesburg and handed 24 years for the March 2013 attacks that killed 12 people and injured 36 in Nigeria.

He was convicted on 13 counts, including engaging in terrorist activities and conspiracy.

Okah, the leader of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) was convicted in South Africa in 2013 under the protection of Constitutional Democracy Act.

But he has argued that the International Criminal Court is the only court with jurisdiction outside his country.

He is now seeking a declaratory order that will refer the matter to The Hague.

In his court papers, Okah said he should have been charged under international humanitarian law. His lawyer Idemudia Uriesi said: “We are arguing that he was found guilty even before the trial began.”

Okah planted two car bombs that detonated in Abuja in October 2010 on the anniversary of the country’s independence.

The MEND claimed responsibility for the attacks on oil companies operating in the petroleum-rich delta.

Although his previous attempts to overturn his conviction failed in the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court, Okah is confident that this time around his application will be successful.