Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Chile Eboe-Osuji, has said that there is no witch-hunt of African countries by the court.
Eboe-Osuji stated this, in Abuja, when he held talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
Recall that the African Union (AU) had, in 2017, moved for the collective withdrawal from the ICC.
The AU had alleged witch-hunting of its leaders, a strategy which suffered setback due to Nigeria’s support and that of other countries.
In spite of the setbacks experienced with the move, Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia went ahead to signify withdrawal of membership of the ICC.
Eboe-Osuji said: “There is no witch-hunting of African countries going on. Actually, some of the complaints being made have not taken into account the fact that the court was set up for the protection of people who are suffering from some kind of violations.
“And those Africans who are suffering from the violation, are not complaining that the court is biased, they are not complaining that there is witch-hunt going on,” Eboe-Osuji said.
The ICC President further said Nigeria had been very supportive of the court by saying that there is need for the ICC to stand and be supported.
Eboe-Osuji added that Nigeria walked the talk, saying that if there is a country in a position to appreciate that, Nigeria would be supporting the court.
While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for his assistance to the ICC, Eboe-Osuji added that Nigeria stood to lay a good legacy for other countries to follow.
The ICC President added: “And we are here to express gratitude to Nigeria for doing that. The court appreciated the Nigerian support.”
Also speaking, Onyeama said it would be wrong to see the court as witch-hunting.
According to Onyeama, “I think it is a wrong way to look at it. I think the question we should be asking is, have rights been violated? Should people have the right to have the people who violated their rights made to face some kind of tribunal? That is the question we should ask.
“Another way to look at it is that African leaders are being tried. Is it justifiable? That is all that should concern us and whether 10 African leaders are arrested, the question is, is the process fair? were rights violated?” Onyeama asked.
Onyeama further said that Nigeria was solidly behind the ICC President and in support of the court.
Onyeama added: “President Buhari was of the firm believe that Nigeria should speak out in support of the court because the objective of the court is something that Mr President and his government believes firmly in.
“This is the rule of law and accountability by the political leaders of the continent and firm believe that ordinary Africans should have the possibility of having rights defended and upheld in the court of law.
“And that the African leaders should also be held accountable in court of law. So, we do believe that the ICC is an institution for good and the benefit of the global community,” Onyeama said.