From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Honourable Lady Justice Stella Isibhakhomen Anukam, yesterday, joined other eminent key stakeholders at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hague, Netherlands, to brainstorm on sustainable peace, security and development.

Anukam, a former Director of the International and Comparative Law Department, Federal Ministry of Justice, while delivering her keynote address, highlighted the role of judicial institutions in the restoration and consolidation of peace.

She said: “The strengthening of judicial institutions plays a key role in the restoration and consolidation of peace by facilitating the maintenance of law and order and fostering the peaceful resolution of disputes.

“By holding the perpetrators accountable, the ICC ensures that justice is served, and prevents further crimes from occurring, hence contributing to sustainable peace, security and development.”

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The President of the ICC, Judge Piotr Hofmański, in his remarks, noted that “2023 was an extremely intense year for the ICC, both as regards judicial proceedings, as well as investigations and reparations.”

He said: “This heavy workload will continue in 2024. What we would hope to see, of course, is more suspects in custody. We need States to step up their efforts to execute the outstanding arrest warrants.”

ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, said: “The opening of the judicial year is always a time for pause, reflection and re-commitment to doing better. This opening is also full of the hope, promise and expectations that victims around the world and humanity have for more justice and less criminality.

“It is also one in which the obligation of the Court to effectively discharge its mandate is put into very stark relief. My Office and I commit to working with fidelity under the Rome Statute, to discharge our responsibilities by building partnerships and by independently assessing the evidence that we gather so that justice can be delivered more effectively in all areas where the Court has jurisdiction.”

A statement issued by the International Criminal Court on its website listed ICC judges, the Vice-President of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), Ambassador Margareta Kassangana, representatives from national jurisdictions, regional or international courts, diplomatic corps, civil society and international organisations, among the participants who attended the event held in ICC Courtroom.