The International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands has said that there was no witch hunt of African countries as being insinuated in some quarters.
The President of the Court, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, a Nigerian, said this in Abuja when fielding questions from newsmen after a courtesy visit on the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
There were allegations by some countries that ICC was witch hunting African leaders which led to the withdrawal of membership of some African countries.
The African Union had in 2017 backed a strategy for collective withdrawal from the court over allegation of witch hunting their leaders, but the decision suffered a setback after Nigeria and other countries stood in support of the court.
Three African countries, Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia had signified their withdrawal of their membership of the court.
Debunking the allegations, the President of the ICC, Eboe-Osuji however said: ‘there was no witch-hunting of African countries.
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.
Judge Eboe-Osuji said Nigeria has been very supportive to the international court.
And we are here to express gratitude to Nigeria for doing that, the court appreciates the Nigeria support.
On his part, the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, said that it would be wrong to allege that the court was witch hunting African leaders,
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.
That is all that should concern us and whether 10 African leaders are arrested, the question is, is the process fair, were rights violated?, he explained.
Mr. Onyeama told the visiting jurist that Nigeria was solidly behind him and in support of the court.
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, he said.
He said that Nigeria was in support and hope that other countries around the world yet to join would also walk the talk and also join the ICC.
We know that there are numbers of big countries, democratic countries that are still not acceded, so we delighted that the court is now being led by Nigerian.
Mr. Onyeama said Nigeria will certainly do whatever it needs to do to support the work and to promote global justice.
Source: Voice of Nigeria