ICC Is Now Needed More Than Ever – Buhari (Full Speech)

President Buhari in a group photo with Judges of the Criminal Court ahead of his Keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands on 17th July 2018.
President Buhari in a group photo with Judges of the Criminal Court ahead of his Keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands on 17th July 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in jurisdiction over serious cases of corruption noting that the International court is now needed more than ever.

The President made this call on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address at the 20th anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

President Buhari believes that the ICC also needs increased cooperation and financial resources from its member states.

He said, “with the alarming proliferation of the most serious crimes around the world, the ICC, and all that it stands for is now needed more than ever, in ways that were unforeseeable to its founders.”

 

Read Full text of his address below…

KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS.

Protocols:

I am honoured to be with you here today to celebrate the anniversary of this vital global institution. I say “vital” because the world needs the ICC.

2. Let me start by congratulating you, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, on your election as President of the International Criminal Court, and also thank the judges of the Court for electing you, a cherished son of Nigeria. Nigeria is very proud of you, Mr. President.

3. Let me also express my gratitude to the International Criminal Court for inviting me to speak on this occasion.

4. As we know, the International Criminal Court was established twenty years ago as a global court, inspired by the Nuremberg trials of World War II war criminals, to hold people accountable for crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of genocide and aggression.

5. In addition to preventing impunity, promoting adherence and respect for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms worldwide and to punishing those in leadership positions responsible for the most appalling crimes and atrocities, the ICC has given hope for justice to so many, by demanding strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law.

6. With the alarming proliferation of the most serious crimes around the world, the ICC, and all that it stands for, is now needed more than ever, in ways that were unforeseeable to its founders. The ICC may have been created at a time of optimism that it would not need to be utilized frequently, but, unfortunately, the increase in international crimes has only increased the Court’s relevance.

7. Indeed, while limits on the ICC’s jurisdiction mean that it cannot presently act with regard to some of the dire crises of the day in states that are not parties, by acting where it can, the ICC reinforces the demand for justice far beyond its own cases.

8. A strong and effective ICC has the potential to send a powerful message about the international community’s commitment to accountability, a message that will be heard by both victims and perpetrators. Equally, a strong and effective ICC demonstrates the international community’s commitment to the rule of law.

9. A strong and effective ICC can also act as a catalyst for other justice efforts, expanding the reach of accountability. These could include serious cases of corruption by state actors that severely compromise the development efforts of countries and throw citizens into greater poverty. These could also include cases of illicit financial flows where countries are complicit and obstruct repatriation of stolen assets. As the African Union Champion on Anti-corruption, these are issues dear to my heart.

10. The Rome Statute created more than a court; it created the outline for a system of justice for horrific crimes rooted first in national courts doing their job, and where they fail to do so, the ICC stepping in only as “the court of the last resort”

11. The ICC also needs increased cooperation and financial resources from its member states. State parties should express their commitment to increasing efforts in these areas, including pledging concrete assistance.

12. The twenty years of the Court’s existence have witnessed several challenges, some of which had threatened the very existence of the Court itself. Most notable were the withdrawals and threats of withdrawals of membership of the Court by some States, as well as accusations of bias in the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Court. Thankfully, the Court has addressed these challenges in a dignified and commendable way.

13. Nonetheless, the Court needs to take on board all constructive criticisms and allay lingering fears and concern through targeted messaging, awareness raising and possible modification of some legal provisions. If properly articulated, communication and awareness raising would surely engender trust and encourage greater cooperation of Member States with the Court and even encourage non – Member States to decide to become Members. It must avoid even a hint of bias or political motivations.

14. The goals and responsibilities of the Court are no doubt very challenging and daunting but with the cooperation of all, coupled with the high calibre of Judges and staff of the Court, the challenges are not insurmountable. I, therefore, urge all States not to politicize the decisions of the Court but to always bear in mind the rationale for the establishment of the Court in the first place.

15. I urge all States that have not yet done so to, as a matter of deliberate State policy, accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court so that it can become a universal treaty.

16. Nigeria has cooperated with, and supported the Court at all times. This, we have demonstrated by our full and transparent cooperation on matters on which we are being investigated and also in our several Country statements at the sessions of the Court. Our cooperation with the Court is borne out of our strong belief in the respect for the rule of law and human rights, and in our firm commitment to the sanctity of fundamental freedoms at international and domestic levels, as ingrained in the objectives for establishing the Court.

17. In conclusion, let me intimate you that Nigeria is preparing to conduct general elections in 2019. Contrary to the tragic incidents that characterized the 2011 general elections in Nigeria which necessitated preliminary investigations by the International Criminal Court, I assure you that all hands are on deck to prevent any recurrence of such tragic incidents. We shall do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria witnesses the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2019.

18. Again, I congratulate the Court on its 20th Anniversary and wish it continued growth, relevance and success in the years to come in its vital role as a bulwark against man’s inhumanity to man.

Thank you for your attention.

 

 

Plateau Sets Up Special Courts For Corruption Cases

The Plateau State Judiciary has designated two High Court judges to hear and speedily dispose of all corruption cases in the state.

This follows the directives of the Chief Justice of Nigeria that special courts be established for hearing and speedy determination of corruption and financial crime cases.

The Chief Registrar in the Plateau State Judiciary, Geoffrey Kamyal states that the judges have been exposed to local and international training and will handle the cases alongside other cases before their courts with special attention on corruption cases.

The two High Court judges, Justice Christine Dabup and Justice Daniel Longji have been designated to handle cases relating to corruption and financial crime as the judiciary steps into full throttle in the fight against corruption.

READ ALSO: Plateau Govt Meets With Igbo/Hausa Communities

In the quest to ensure that corruption cases are not swept under the carpet, the Plateau State governor at the swearing in of the acting chief judge directed full compliance of the directives for the special courts as the state join the league of anti-corruption campaigners.

With the establishment of special courts to attend to corruption and financial crime cases in Plateau state, all is now set for speedy dispensation of such cases that are pending in various courts.

Judges’ Call For Amaechi To Step Down Is Diversionary – Sagay

Judges' Call For Amaechi To Step Down Is Diversionary - Itse SagayThe Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Prof Itse Sagay has described as diversionary, malicious and vindictive, the call for the Minister of Transport, to step down from office.

In an interview with select journalists on Thursday in Lagos, Prof Sagay made it clear that he was speaking in his personal capacity.

He insisted that the outburst of Justice Okoro and Ngwuta (two justices of the Supreme Court) is “surprising considering that it is totally unrelated to the raids of their premises, their arrests and subsequent charges before the courts”.

The Professor also said that “men of that status should not indulge in such diversionary activities in the midst of grave and ominous charges against them. I would have thought that they would use the time at their disposal to prepare their defenses against the serious charges they are facing.

“In any case, given their statuses as Supreme Court Justices even in the middle of the adversity confronting them, they should not have engaged in a distraction totally incompatible with the dignity and respect that their offices attract.

“It is demeaning for them to abandon their legitimate defence in order to smear a high official of the Buhari Government, which latter they probably consider to be the source of their predicaments.

“Mere allegations cannot have enough weight to affect the position of such a high official as Amaechi, otherwise knowing the disposition of Nigerians for putting people down, no office holder will be safe in this country. It is therefore improper and ridiculous to compare the position of the justices in whose houses millions of naira and hundreds of thousands of dollars were recovered, to that of Amaechi against whom there is only the mere ipse dixit of the judges.

“This sudden anti-Amaechi narrative is consistent with the objectives and interests of the chief promoters and funders of judicial corruption during election petitions. These powerful opposition are well known.

“To be more specific, they are from Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. They are the one who financed judicial corruption and brought that great institution, the judiciary to its knees, after the 2015 elections.

“These allegations are intended to undermine and weaken the Buhari Federal Government, by depriving it of the service, input, ideas and productivity of some of its brightest stars.

“This is intended to set the stage for charging the government with ineffectiveness and cluelessness. In other words, it is an attempt to reduce the image and perception of this Federal Government to the low level of their own fate and unlamented government.

“Therefore, the call for Amaechi to step down is malicious and vindictive. It should be ignored with complete ignominy”.

Prof. Sagay Restates Need For Special Courts On Corruption

Corruption, Itse Sagay, CourtThe Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, has re-emphasised the need to set up a special court whose jurisdiction is limited to a set of crimes.

Professor Sagay made the call at the 2016 lecture of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

He blamed legal practitioners and the judicial system for long delays in the prosecution of a number of corruption cases in the country.

“There is justifiable frustration in this country about the (apparently) ineffectiveness of the prosecution of corruption cases.

“People will cite the fact that cases that started since 2007 have not been concluded (while) some are in suspense (and) we’ve even forgotten about others.

“It’s not a very encouraging picture,” he said.

New Manual For Prosecution

Professor Sagay said that his committee has been advocating special courts for the prosecution of financial crimes, as well as devised a new guide for prosecution.

“We have established a new manual for prosecution. The manual that gives the prosecutor and the investigator a step-by-step process towards an efficient and effective prosecution.

“We will establish a special court with special judges, whose jurisdiction is limited to a set of crimes,” he said.