2019 elections will be free, fair -- President Buhari

By Editor on 18/07/2018

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Buhari
Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday promised to do everything possible to ensure that the 2019 general elections are free, fair and peaceful.

He said all hands were on deck to forestall the violence that characterised the 2011 elections which necessitated investigations by the International Criminal Court.

Buhari made the promise in his keynote address at the Solemn Hearing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the ICC at The Hague.

Scores of Nigerians were killed in parts of the country in the wake of the violence that broke out after the 2011 elections in Nigeria.

But the President assured the ICC that such would not happen under his watch.

He said, “Let me intimate you that Nigeria is preparing to conduct general elections in 2019.

“Contrary to the tragic incidents that characterised 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 witness the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2019.”

Buhari called on the states parties to support ICC with jurisdiction over serious cases of corruption and illicit financial flows by state actors.

He added, “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.

‘‘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.”

The President thanked the judges of the court for electing a Nigerian, Chile Eboe-Osuji, as President.

While congratulating Eboe-Osuji, on his election, the President said Nigeria was proud of him.

Buhari recalled that the court was established 20 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.

He noted that the ICC had given hope for justice to many by demanding strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law.

The President noted that Nigeria had cooperated with, and supported the court at all times.

This, he said, the country had demonstrated by its full and transparent cooperation on matters on which it was being investigated and also in its several country statements at the sessions of the court.

The Nigerian leader is the only President invited to grace the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the ICC Rome Statute.

Over 25 high-level state officials, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, O-Gon Kwon; ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda; ICC Registrar,  Peter Lewis; UN Legal Counsel,  Miguel de Serpa Soares; and other special guests, attended the event.

 

Coalition urges ICC to tackle Buhari over killings

The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a civil society concerned with the advocacy for the domestication of the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, on Tuesday, charged the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to engage the visiting President Muhammadu Buhari, on the continued killings in Nigeria.

The coalition also asked the ICC’s prosecutor to engage Buhari on the alleged non-accountability on the part of the country’s security agencies, while also calling on the Nigerian government to join in the fight against impunity and domesticate the Rome Statute.

Buhari had travelled to the ICC in The Hague on Sunday for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the court through its Rome Statute.

The NCICC, in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Mr Chinonye Obiagwu; and its Vice Chairman,  Dr Abiola Akiode-Afolabi, congratulated the court, which they said needed to be supported in the face of rising global violations of humanitarian laws and human rights.

The coalition noted that Nigeria had yet to domesticate the Rome Statute, despite being under the ICC’s preliminary examination due to the armed conflict between Boko Haram and Nigerian security agencies and different crimes committed in the Niger Delta region.

While calling on the ICC’s prosecutor to seize the opportunity of Buhari’s attendance at the court’s 20th anniversary to engage the President on the continued killings in the country, the NCICC also asked the Nigerian government  to domesticate the Rome Statute and prosecute those involved in “the gross and frequent violations.”

The statement read in part, “The NCICC emphasises that in the rise of global violations of humanitarian laws and human rights, there is no better time to support the International Criminal Court than now.

“To ensure a more just world, it is important for states to foster cooperation with the ICC by domesticating and implementing the Rome Statute’s provisions of complementarity in their national legislation and prosecute international crimes committed within their territory.

“Despite Nigeria being listed as a preliminary examination country due to the armed conflict between Boko Haram and Nigerian security and different crimes committed in the Niger Delta region, the country continues to face more violations of human rights and crimes violating international law.

“It is imperative at this time for the Nigerian government to stand up for justice, domesticate the Rome Statute and prosecute these gross and frequent violations.

“As President Buhari attends the event of the Rome Statute at 20, we urge the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to engage the president on the continued killings in the North-Central and North-East regions and the non-accountability on the part of the state security.”

The coalition noted that the ICC had so far had 26 cases, issued 32 arrest warrants and delivered verdict in six cases, with eight convictions and two acquittals, the most recent being that of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.

It added that Nigeria, though a state party of the ICC, had since the submission of its instrument of ratification on September 27, 2001, failed to domesticate the Rome Statute into its national legislation in accordance with the provisions of section 12 of the 1999 Constitution.

“The Rome Statute which is the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court vested the court with the power to exercise jurisdiction over international crimes to wit: genocides, crimes against humanity, war crime and crime of aggression,” the coalition’s statement read.

It added, “The NCICC calls on the Nigerian government to join in the fight against impunity and domesticate the Rome Statute and further reiterates the need for the National Assembly to expedite the domestication of the Rome Statute bill which comes up for a public hearing on July 18, 2018.”

Posted 18/07/2018 07:08:53 AM

 

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