‘Humanity cries for justice’, ICC President says over U.S. threats

Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the International Criminal Court

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) says “humanity cries for justice” and that “no country can do it alone”, an apparent response to U.S. comment over the status of the Court.

The ICC President also pointed out that there are more conflicts in the world today than in 1998, when the Rome Statute established the Court to address genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The Nigerian-born deflected the significance of the remarks made last week by the U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton that ICC was an “illegitimate court”, but urged countries to focus on why the Rome Statue was adopted.

Bolton’s remarks indicated that the U.S. would be prepared to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the country, should a proposed investigation into alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan go ahead.

However, the Judge calmly responded that it was “unfortunate that that kind of threat was made,” but also stressed the importance of focusing on “why we have the Rome Statute.”

“The world needs the United States in the ICC especially because they have a long history and experience of supporting these sorts of efforts to address violations,” he said.

Eboe-Osuji noted the Nuremburg trials after the Second World War, in which the American judicial system “led the way.”

The ICC President also pointed out that in response to problems in the former Yugoslavia, genocide in Rwanda and war crimes committed in the Sierra Leone civil war, “the United States played a strong role in insisting that justice must be done post-conflict, and that was done.”

“We do want them to come to the ICC and do the same thing, they know how to do it, they know how to assist.

“That is what is more important, we have to keep our eyes on the ball. We cannot be distracted, by whatever reasons some people feel irritated by what the Court does,” he said.

He said it was important “for everyone to keep in mind that there are strong systems in place around the Rome Statue that ensures that there is no unfair prosecution against anyone.

“There is no need for anyone to get carried away at the beginning of the process, even before any preliminary examination or investigation has began,” he said, elaborating on the very long process of the Court.

“Humanity cries for justice,” he said, adding that “no country can do it alone. The world needs a collective effort to solve collective problems,” adding that ICC would continue to do its work. (NAN)