Saraki Seeks Reform Of the International Criminal Court

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President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has called on the new President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji, to among others, embark on urgent reforms in the court in order to reassure some African leaders who accuse the ICC of discrimination.

Saraki who gave the charge when Justice Eboe-Osuji visited him at the National Assembly, also urged the international jurist to use his tenure at the Court to restore confidence in the ICC.

The President of the Senate, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, said: “You have come at a very challenging time because as you know there are brother African countries that have different views about the ICC at this particular time and Nigeria will continue to play the role to stand firm to be able to be a kind of arbiter between different countries.

“I think having you as the President is well thought out. It is very important to have someone like you heading the place. I think there’s need to look at reforms  in order to give everybody a sense of belonging and fulfil the goals and objectives of the ICC. I think that there will be need to always do that which is right to give all countries a sense of belonging”.

He also assured Justice Eboe-Osuji of the National Assembly’s support saying, “What I can assure you, is that here in the National Assembly, we will support you and ensure that you make your mark and be a shinning star among us and other countries.

“I am very certain that you will make a very successful tenure as the President of the ICC. Let me also reiterate our country’s and National Assembly’s commitment to support the vision of the ICC, which is to ensure that we do as much as we can to fight crimes against humanity.”

The President of the Senate lauded Justice Eboe-Osuji for the visit and pledged the support of the National Assembly to the success of the objectives and goals  of the founding fathers of the ICC.

Earlier, Justice Eboe-Osuji told the President of the Senate that his visit was to appreciate the support and encouragement from the government and people of Nigeria when he contested for the presidency of the ICC.

He said that he was particularly encouraged by President Muhammadu Buhari who through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, felicitated with him when he was elected President of the Court.

Justice Eboe-Osuji acknowledged that Nigeria is one of the first sixty signatories of the Rome Statute that established the court adding that the court has a global objective to end impunity, fight against genocide, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

When he met with Deputy Senate President, Thursday, Judge Eboe-Osuji said the purpose of his visit was to express his gratitude to Nigeria for supporting the ICC and its mandate, saying that the “idea of the rule of law must continue and there must be accountability for violations of international criminal laws”.

“If you look around the world, the concerns of accountability continue and one would expect that Nigeria would stand up against such continuation of atrocious conducts that should be prosecuted.

“Crimes and conducts that shock the conscience of humanity cannot go without questions; without somebody being held accountable to them. That is what the ICC is about”, he said.

Ekweremadu described the mandate of the Court as “very critical to a peaceful and stable world devoid of oppression and aggression”, said Nigerians and Africans were proud of Judge the jurist’s recent emergence as the President of the Court.

He said: “As somebody coming from Africa, I think that you are in a better position to understand the issues around the mandate you because a lot of these atrocities have been recorded in Africa in forms of senseless mass killings and related atrocities.

“For us as a civilized people, we believe that human life is very precious. That is why the right to life is the first right in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and I think that is the same with modern constitutions the world over.

“So anything that has to do with killings of people and any kind of oppression that gives less meaning to human life must be condemned.

“So, ICC has the full support of the National Assembly of Nigeria in your efforts and that of the global community to end genocides, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression. You have our support in your efforts to help the victims of such atrocities find justice.

“If there is anything we need to do as a parliament in terms of ratification of treaties and protocols as well as advocacy that will advance the work of the ICC, we will be very happy to do so”.

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