Alex Enumah in Abuja
The federal government has reaffirmed its commitment to ending impunity and facilitating recourse to justice for victims, as well as ensuring punishment for law breakers.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said this in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu.
Malami was speaking at the opening of the five-day 18th session of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute, at the International Criminal Court (ICC), at The Hague, Netherlands.
He said Nigeria was also committed to criminalisation of starvation as a weapon of war under the Rome Statute of the ICC.
“The idea of criminalisation of starvation was mooted by Switzerland. We in Nigeria, therefore, call on all state parties to jointly support the initiative,’’ he said.
Malami, however, decried the numerous challenges the International Criminal Court (ICC) had been facing.
“The challenges include: increasing attacks against it and its officials, possibilities of further withdrawals from the Rome Statute, weakening of the Rome Statute system and its support across the globe.”
Other challenges, he said, included reduction in multilateral engagement amidst rising tides of hostility, discrimination, and repression around the world.
Malami said Nigeria desired 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 characterised World War I and II.
He said Nigeria was also determined to work together with state parties to oppose efforts to undermine the works of the court, its independence and impartiality.
Nigeria, he added, strongly condemns threats against the ICC in some parts of the world, its officials, and those cooperating with the court.
“We consider such attacks as calculated attempts to undermine and cripple the 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 ones,’’ the minister said.
He urged all civilised nations of the world to rise up to this critical challenge if the present and future generations would be safeguarded from extermination.
“Nigeria is committed to recognising the Rome Statute system of justice as key in advancing accountability at the international and national levels, for sexual and gender-based violence and violence against children as grave crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.’’
Malami informed the gathering that the Boko Haram elements had been considerably decimated through the efforts of the Nigerian security forces and the support of proximate neighbours and other friendly states.
The minister said: “Gradually, therefore, normalcy is returning and Nigeria is coming out of the woods and will indeed also come out of the numerous cases initiated against her at the ICC.
“Nigeria is not a jungle, it is a peace and justice loving country, which is aspiring to develop and create a conducive environment for foreign and other investments to generate jobs and create opportunities for the teeming population.
“Therefore, impunity being a critical element that could prevent these lofty ideas from fruition, does not have a place and will never be tolerated in all facets of our criminal justice system.”