By Ebere Agozie
The Federal Government on Monday said it was committed to supporting an inclusive and transparent process in selecting the best and most qualified candidates for the coveted positions of prosecutor and judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), made this known while speaking at the 19th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, at The Hague, Netherlands.
This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations.
Malami reiterated the need not to compromise on the issue of high moral character of candidates seeking elective offices within the court system as that is the only way the credibility of the court could be sustained.
This, he said, is geared toward ensuring that jurists of the highest caliber will always aspire for appointment to the Court, thereby strengthening the quality of the bench as a whole.
The minister also noted that attacks against the ICC and its officials continue to weaken the Rome Statute system and its support across the globe.
“The federal government has condemned all actions geared towards undermining and weakening the ICC’s ability to freely exercise its mandate.
“Nigeria is therefore renewing its commitment to the ICC as the cornerstone of the fight against impunity and a critical element of rules-based international order.
“We are committed to working together with States Parties to oppose efforts to undermine the work of the Court and its independence,’’ he assured.
He noted with great consternation that the promise and hope offered by the Rome Statute to victims of atrocious crimes worldwide is increasingly threatened by a retreat in multilateral engagement and rising tides of hostility, discrimination, and repression around the world.
He also commended the efforts of the outgoing president of the ICC who is also a Nigerian, Eboe Osuji.
“Osuji brought enduring reforms to the court and spearheaded efforts that have led to a better understanding of the court on the world stage as well as improved the conditions of service of judges’’.
He said: “Nigeria has taken note of efforts to reform the conditions of service of ICC judges. Nigeria is concerned about the rationale that has now disconnected those conditions from their traditional alignment with the conditions of service of the judges of the International Court of Justice’.
“It is true that the conditions of service of the ICC judges need not be formally linked to those of ICJ judges. But it is important to stress that ICC Judges are not inferior to their counterparts at the ICJ or at the other International Courts in Europe.
“That equality of stature must also be reflected in parity of treatment in conditions of service,” he said.
Malami underscored the importance of maintaining the usual arrangement in the administration of international justice, according to which judges of International Courts are compensated at a level above Under Secretaries General in the UN system (USGs). (NAN)