By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against impunity, provide recourse to justice for victims and punishment for perpetrators of the crimes.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, gave the assurance on Monday while presenting Nigeria’s statement during the opening of the 5-day 18th session of the assembly of state parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Hague, the Netherlands.
The Minister, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, said Nigeria is also committed to criminalization of starvation as a weapon of war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
While recalling that the idea of criminalization of starvation as a weapon of war crime was mooted by Switzerland, Malami emphasized the Nigeria’s calls on all State Parties to jointly support the initiative.
The Attorney General of the Federation also decried the numerous challenges the International Criminal Court has been facing including increasing attacks against the ICC and its officials, possibilities of further withdrawals from the Rome Statute, weakening of the Rome Statute system and its support across the globe, retreat in multilateral engagement and rising tides of hostility, discrimination, and repression around the world.
“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,” the Minister has said.
The Minister said Nigeria is also determined 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”, he said.
The Attorney General of the Federation put forward the Nigeria’s call 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,” he said.
Malami said Nigeria is committed to recognizing the Rome Statute system of justice as key in advancing accountability at the international and national level for sexual and gender-based violence and violence against children as grave crimes, including as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Malami informed the gathering that the Boko Haram elements have been considerably decimated through the efforts of the Nigerian Security Forces and the support of our proximate neighbours and other friendly States saying that “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 conducive environment for foreign and other investments, thereby generating jobs and other opportunities for the teeming population, Therefore, impunity being a critical element that could prevent this lofty ideas from fruition does not have a place and will never be tolerated in all facets of our criminal justice system,” he said.