Court Strikes Suit Against Saro-Wiwa’s Military Tribunal Trial

Court Strikes Suit Against Saro-Wiwa’s Military Tribunal Trial

Judgment condemned the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni sons

Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday struck out a suit filed by a group seeking to annul the Ogoni Civil Disturbance Tribunal which convicted and sentenced to death by hanging the Ogoni rights activist, Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight others of the Ogoni ethnic nationality, Rivers State.

The group, Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, had approached the court asking it to declare the special tribunal constituted by the military government and process of setting up the panel as unlawful.

The group had also asked the court among other reliefs sought to set aside the judgment of the tribunal against Ken Saro-Wiwa and the others on the 31st of October, 1995.

It further prayed the court to hold that the special tribunal was unlawful and acted contrary to the African Charter on Human rights, stressing that its operations were illegal.

Delivering its ruling, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Liman, condemned the ruling of the tribunal that convict the nine activists, noting that such laws cannot exist in a civilized society.

Liman held that the tribunal was not properly constituted noting that three man formed the tribunal where as the constitution provides for the chairman and three other members.

Liman stuck out the case on locus standi, noting that the applicant was unable to state his relationship with the convicts.

He ruled that the applicant had nothing to gain or lose in the matter, adding that it was for academic reasons.

Speaking outside the court room, the counsel for the applicant, Mr. Golden Aawi, said he was satisfied with the ruling of the court, pointing out that the court had in its judgment condemned the killing of the Ogoni sons.

Aawi stated that the court based its judgment on the 1st and 7th grounds, stating that the judgment does not invalidate the claims of the complainant.

Meanwhile, the applicant, who is the leader of Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, Chief Gani Topba, told The post that he would appeal the judgment of the High Court which struck out his application.

Topba noted that the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa affects every Niger Deltan and wondered why the court did not indirectly see his interest in the matter.