The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Mr Abubakar Malami, has called nation’s attention on the need to safeguard the integrity of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and its cornerstone principles.
He stated this at the ongoing 18th Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Statute.
“There is the need to safeguard the integrity of the Rome Statute, and its cornerstone principles, and we are grateful for the opportunity provided by the ongoing review process of the ICC to bring together States, court officials, experts and civil society in a joint effort to strengthen the work of the Court, and ensure it can exercise its mandate over the coming years to its full potential,” he stated.
The AGF expressed Nigeria’s concerned that since its adoption in 1998, the Rome Statute had” held out the promise of providing recourse to justice for victims, ending of impunity and punishment for perpetrators of the crimes that shock the conscience of humanity.”
“It is the desire of Nigeria to see ICC overcome all its present challenges and become a global, independent and impartial Court with capability to rid the world of impunity, the type that characterized World War one and two, and Nigeria promises to work with you and the Bureau in ensuring the success of this Session.
“Nigeria is concerned that since its adoption in 1998, the Rome Statute has held out the promise of providing recourse to justice for victims, ending of impunity and punishment for perpetrators of the crimes that shock the conscience of humanity.
“Yet, that promise is increasingly threatened by global climate characterized by a retreat in multilateral engagement and rising tides of hostility, discrimination, and repression around the world. In addition, increasing attacks against the ICC and its officials and possibilities of further withdrawals from the Rome Statute continue to weaken the Rome Statute system and its support across the globe.
“Nigeria also wishes to reaffirm, inter alia, her unconditional commitment to the ICC as the cornerstone for the fight against impunity and a critical element of rules-based international order; she also commits to work together with States Parties to oppose efforts to undermine the works of the Court and its independence and impartiality.
“In particular, Nigeria strongly condemns threats made against the ICC in some parts of the world, its officials, and those cooperating with the Court. Nigeria considers such attacks as calculated attempts to undermine and cripple fight against impunity and the laying of a solid foundation for a peaceful and just world, not only for the present generation, but also for the unborn generations. On this basis Nigeria calls on all civilized nations of the world to rise up to this critical challenge, if we must safeguard the present and future generations from extermination,” Malami stressed.
According to him, the review needed to be independent and also be robust in examining how both the Court and ASP should be improved to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Court in all aspects.
“Some delegations have mentioned that judges commenced a labour relations lawsuit, after 17 years of pay-freeze and severe pension –cut. The review may need to look into the circumstances that resulted in that regrettable development. Was it avoidable?
“Review needs to consider whether the Court has been given, over time, the level of funding that is optimum for its mandate.
“Nigeria continues to affirm her belief in democracy and the rule of law and wishes to reiterate the position that the ICC is increasingly becoming a critical global institution with the mandate of checkmating impunity and promoting the Rule of Law globally.
“Realizing therefore the intertwined nature of peace and development, our collective efforts should be geared towards making the Rome Statute a truly universal legislation through the progressive increase in the number of accessions to the Statute.
” In this connection, Nigeria promises not to leave any stone unturned in effort to reach out to her close allies and other friendly nations who have not yet acceded to the Rome Statute to do so as quickly as possible,” Malami added.