FG Seeks Transparency in Judges, Prosecutors’ Selection

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Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN)

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The federal government yesterday called for a transparent and all inclusive process, devoid of any sentiment in the selection of the Prosecutor and Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, said this is necessary in order to select only the best and the most qualified candidates for the coveted positions.

He spoke while delivering Nigeria’s Country statement at the 19th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, at Hague, Netherlands.

“Nigeria wishes to reiterate the need not to compromise 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 can be sustained,” a statement from his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu said.

The statement added that, the AGF also noted that attacks against the ICC and its officials continue to weaken the Rome Statute system and its support across the globe.

He said the Federal Government of Nigeria has condemned all actions geared towards undermining and weakening the ICC’s ability to freely exercise its mandate.

While renewing Nigeria’s commitment to the ICC as the cornerstone of the fight against impunity and a critical element of rules-based international order; Malami said Nigeria is committed to work together with States Parties to oppose efforts to undermine the work of the court and its independence.

“I note 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 added.

He also commended the efforts of the outgoing President of the ICC who is also a Nigerian, Eboe-Osuji, whom Malami said have 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.

Malami said their contributions was geared toward ensuring that jurists of the highest caliber will always aspire for appointment to the court’s judiciary, thereby strengthening the quality of the bench as a whole.

“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 said Nigeria underscores 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).