The move by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reform its system as part of efforts to mend relations with African countries is a welcome development, and a crucial moment for the continent, the Vice President has said.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday when he received the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr Karim Khan, who was on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He said the proposal to reform the international justice system would “reassure African countries that there is room for negotiations and that the ICC is not just out to witch hunt any individual or organisation.”
The Vice President stressed the need to create a system that builds relationships and credibility among member states, “creating a sense that everyone can be treated fairly.”
Commending the court for making the bold move, he said, “The steps that you are taking are very crucial.
“For Nigeria, you will get all the cooperation, and at the end of the day, people must feel that the system is just and fair to all.”
The ICC prosecutor, in his remarks, acknowledged Nigeria’s role in Africa and expressed excitement at the visit, saying, “it comes at a critical time in the history of the continent.”
He explained that the court, through the proposed roadmap for reforms, would assist African countries to achieve justice, applying the principle of complementarity.
Khan also pledged the commitment of the court to working with local authorities to encourage domestic jurisdictions to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of core international crimes.
Aside ICC officials on the entourage of the prosecutor, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Eniola Ajayi, were present at the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Vice President also received the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ihab Awad, who came to brief him on the next meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt later in November.
In his remarks, he noted that with the meeting to be held in Africa, leaders in the continent should ensure that the conversations on climate change go the way “we want it to go”.
“Our developmental challenges are as existential as the climate change concern itself,” Professor Osinbajo said.