Nigeria Affirms It’s Not Leaving the ICC
Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has re-affirmed that the Federal Government has resolved to remain in the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite a resolution passed by African Heads of State and Government at the recent African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
Ministry Spokesman Dr Clement Aduku, who clarified the Federal Government’s position on the non-binding resolution here Wednesday, said Nigeria’s stand on the issue as explained by Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, had not changed.
The African Union, during a plenary at the 28th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, had called for a collective withdrawal of its member States from the Court based in The Hague in the Netherlands, arguing that African countries were not being fairly treated by the Court and hence members should withdraw.
Onyeama said Nigeria did not subscribe to the strategy adopted by AU for collective withdrawal from the ICC. The minister said when the issue came up, several countries were against it.
According to him, Nigeria and some other countries believe that the ICC has an important role to play in holding leaders accountable.
“Nigeria is not the only voice against it; in fact, Senegal spoke very strongly against it. Cape Verde and other countries are also against it. What the AU did was to set up a committee to elaborate a strategy for collective withdrawal. After, Senegal took the floor, Nigeria took the floor, Cape Verde and some other countries made it clear that they were not going to subscribe to that decision,” said the Minister.
Onyeama said a number of countries also took the floor to request for more time to study the proposal before acceding. He said Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana and others were not willing to withdraw from the court.
While faulting the AU’s position on the ICC, Onyeama stressed that each individual country willingly acceded to the 1998 Rome Statue on the setting up of the court.
“Each country freely and willingly acceded to the Treaty and not all of the members of the AU acceded; each country acceded individually, exercising its own sovereign right. So, if each country wants to withdraw, it has the right to do that individually,” he added.
“The AU, which was not a party to the Rome Statute that established the Court, should not be developing a strategy for a collective withdrawal for something that each country entered into individually. Those who feel they want to withdraw should do that individually.”
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