In the decade since the International Criminal Court (ICC) came into existence, there is wide awareness, though little true understanding, of the work of the international criminal tribunals. International prosecutions of high-ranking civilian and military leaders, including former heads of state, on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, crime of aggression and genocide, represent for many the ultimate condemnation of these individuals of their fall from power. Yet, despite the misconceptions and confusion. Much of the media coverage dedicated to their work remains superficial, at best, and largely muddles over key distinctions between various tribunals, past and present.
Conversely, the more informed scholarship is largely confined to specialty publications that remain inaccessible to most. In truth, many lawyers and non- lawyers alike lack a clear understanding of the role and functioning of these increasingly-pivotal international institutions.
However, after the Nigerian civil war of 1967 to 1970, there was no such international criminal tribunal that was set up to prosecute war crime, crime against humanity, genocide and crime of aggression committed within the territory of Nigeria. In this regard the United Nations Security Council has played a crucial role in international criminal justice. It was the Security Council that established several adhoc criminal tribunals such likes the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yougoslavia (ICTY),
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Extra-Ordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia to mention but a few to prosecute serious breaches and serious violation of international humanitarian law committed within the territory. Contrarily, during Nigerian civil war, as the humanitarian catastrophe worsen, leading to the death of millions, even the most committed anarchist would have expected greater UN involvement regrettably even after the war, no international criminal tribunal was set up.
The failure of the United Nations to set up an international criminal tribunal in Nigeria after the civil war has continued to pose a lot of questions and Nigerians continue to pay a heavy price for allowing those who slaughter women, including pregnant women, children, innocent civilians and engagedin rape, a needles war and other unconscionable barbarities that violate all norms of law and natural justice go scot free. It has fundamentally debased our society and created a Frankenstein of injustice and impunity that is devouring the nation. It has also nurtured and consolidate culture of violence. This work seeks to address this knowledge gap by providing well-researched and accessible information for the possible reasons of the silence of the United Nations.
Consequently, chapter one of this work will attempt a general introduction, while chapter two would be concern with a brief history of the Nigerian civil war with all the relevant issues thereto. Chapter three will basically deal with implementation of international humanitarian law by United Nations, four will critically look at the establishment of international criminal tribunals and other issues. Before considering the overall conclusion of the work which will be considered in chapter six, chapter five will be limited to a critique and other relevant issues of the research work.The Nigerian Civil War and the failure of United Nations: A Jurisprudential Analysis