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New ICC President And Matters Arising

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Inspite of the ill reputation Nigeria has abroad the country has succeeded in producing men and women of valour. NELSON OMONU writes on the recent election of Chile Eboe-Osuji as ICC’s new president.

Nigerians are doing extraordinary and remarkable things abroad. This cuts across different areas, bits, and talents. They are those that the nation could be proud of at any point and the newly elected present of International Criminal Court, Chile Eboe-Osuji, falls into this category.

It is no longer news that while most Nigerian institutions are adjudged to be under performing by locals, same agencies are often rated high abroad.

The Nigerian Police for instance, to the international society is a trail blazer, that has excelled in International peace keeping.

A Nigerian judge, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, was recently elected the President of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

According to information on the ICC’s website, Eboe-Osuji was elected as President by his fellow judges on the ICC bench at a plenary session on Sunday, March 11, 2018.

He would head the court for a three-year term, ending in 2021.
Fifty-five-year-old Eboe-Osuji, who joined the ICC on December 16, 2011, will be working in his position as the ICC President, alongside Judge Robert Fremr, from Czech Republic; and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, from France, as the First and Second Vice-Presidents of ICC, respectively.

Eboe-Osuji, was quoted as saying that he was “deeply honoured to have been elected by my peers as President of the International Criminal Court.”
Against this backdrop, questions such as why does individuals and institutions who fail at home, succeeds abroad.

These feat saw Nigerians like Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Akinwumi Adesina, Amina Muhammed, Emmanuel Nnadozie heading strategic international organisations.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are thousands of others, who have served and distinguished themselves in various parts of the world. The nagging question that has remained a puzzle on the lips of Nigerians, Africans and global community is, why is Nigeria not excelling at home, in view of the huge pool of human capacity?

The late Nelson Mandela pondered on this question throughout his life time without an answer. Also, the erudite scholar and clergyman, Matthew Hassan Kukah, once opined that, Nigeria seems to be a graveyard for development of human potentials. What this contradiction implies is that, they may be fundamental hindrances to the manifestation of human potentials. Could it be that there is something or a system in Nigeria that kills creativity?

Chile Eboe-Osuji’s three year term of commenced, Sunday, March 11, 2018, when he was elected, according to the information made available on the ICC website.
Judge Robert Fremr (Czech Republic) was elected First Vice-President and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (France) Second Vice-President.

In his acceptance speech, Eboe-Osuji said, “I am deeply honoured to have been elected by my peers as President of the International Criminal Court.

“As I take up my duties, I feel encouraged that I am able to rely on the wide experience of the two Vice-Presidents, Judge Robert Fremr and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, both of whom I have closely worked with previously.

“I look forward to working together with them as well as with all the judges, all the officials and the staff of the Court in a spirit of collegiality.

“I also look forward to collaborating with the Assembly of States Parties, civil society and the international community at large, acting together to strengthen and reinforce the Rome Statute system, the 20th anniversary of the adoption of which we celebrate this year.”

“I am also grateful to the previous President, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, and Vice-Presidents, Judges Joyce Aluoch and Kuniko Ozaki, for their work and leadership,” he added.

The Presidency – consisting of the President and the two Vice-Presidents – plays a key role in providing strategic leadership to the ICC as a whole.

The Presidency coordinates with the other organs and seeks the concurrence of the Prosecutor on matters of mutual concern.

In accordance with the Rome Statute, the ICC’s governing treaty, the Presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the Court, with the exception of the Office of the Prosecutor.

The Presidency oversees the activities of the Registry and provides input into a broad range of administrative policies affecting the Court’s overall functioning. Furthermore it conducts judicial review of certain decisions of the Registrar and concludes Court-wide cooperation agreements with States and international organizations.

According to Wikipedia entry on him, Chile Eboe-Osuji was born in 1962 and he had served as a judge of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, having been elected on December 16, 2011 and sworn in on March 9, 2012. He was also said to have served as a Legal Advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Eboe-Osuji was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 and practiced briefly in the country.

After obtaining his master of laws degree from McGill in 1991, he worked as a barrister in Canada, having been called to the Bar in Ontario and in British Columbia in 1993.

From 1997 to 2005, Eboe-Osuji worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as prosecution counsel and senior legal officer to the judges of the tribunal.
From 2005 to 2007, he worked in Canada as a barrister and law lecturer.

Working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone as senior prosecution appeals counsel in 2007/08 and returning to the ICTR from 2008 to 2010 as Head of Chambers, he became the Legal Advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in 2010, and held a cross-appointment as the principal prosecution appeals counsel at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in the case of Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia.

He has authored two books and numerous law journal of International Law.
Going by records, Nigeria have been proving it’s mettle in the legal profession in Africa and globally, haven produced it’s first lawyer in 1806 (Christopher Sapara).
Nigeria enough had reservoir of legal minds and letting same to some sister African countries and International organisations, to serve at the top echelon of their legal department.

In some cases, the task of establishing or reforming their legal system, rest solely on their Nigerian import.

Prior to Eboe-Osuji’s Era, Egbert Udo Udoma, once acted briefly as Governor General of Uganda where he served as Chief Justice from 1963-1969. He only became a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria after leaving the East African country.
Timothy Akinola Aguda, became the First African Chief Justice of Botswana on February 3, 1972. That was Roye’s 157th post humous birthday. He also doubled as a Justice of the Court of Appeal in Botswana and Lesotho.

James Omo Agege, was Acting Chief Justice of the Gambia, between 1976 and 1977. He had earlier served as Magistrate in Tanzania from 1963-1968.

Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola, [the First ICPC boss] moved to the Gambia in 1980 as Justice of the Court of Appeal.

Promotion came in 1983 when he became Chief Justice, a position he held for nine years. The Judge was also in Seychelles.
Another Nigerian, Akintola Ejiwunmi, was a Supreme Court Judge there . Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, from Akan big village, Obudu was Chief Justice of the Gambia in 2009. A year later, Joseph Wowo was head of the Court of Appeal. Agim was a Technical Aid Corp member in 2000.

Okoi Itam was also Chief Justice of the Gambia. Esther Awo Ota, served as president of the country’s Court of Appeal.

Nkedilim Amelia Izuako set a record when she became Solomon Island’s first female judge. She also worked in the Gambia and the United Nation’s Dispute Tribunal [UNDT] in Nairobi, Kenya.

Beyond Africa, prominent Nigerian legal luminaries have served in various aspect of International jurisprudence. This includes the world court at the Hague, where Justice Bola Ajibola proved that Nigeria is a force to reckon with , considering his legal prowess.

Worthy of mention too is that the first Nigerian to sit on a major international tribunal was Justice Charles Onyeama – and he sat right on the highest court at the international, the International Court of Justice, ICJ between 1967-1976.

Immediately after Justice Charles Onyeama at the ICJ, came Justice Taslim Elias considered as the longest Nigerian on any international Court, serving for 15 years (1976-1991) in various capacities including as the President of the Court. Justice Bola Ajibola completes Nigeria’s three shots, as yet, at the ICJ.

On the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Nwanuri Thompson and Justice Hansin N. Donli, respectively, waved the Nigerian flag. They are also Nigeria’s first two female jurist to have full tenure on any international court.

International tribunals that are awaiting their Nigerian member include the World Trade Organization, the International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea, ITLOS, the Court of Sports Arbitration and the yet to be operational African Court of Justice and Human Rights proposed to subsume both the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Right and the African Court of Justice.

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