ICC President urges ECOWAS Court to uphold human rights

Adoba Echono, Abuja

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Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji

The President of the International Criminal Court, ICC, Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji, has urged the ECOWAS Court of Justice to always uphold justice to protect human rights and dignity in the region.

Justice Eboe-Osuji gave the advice when he visited the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, Nigeria.

He said that both ICC and ECOWAS Court of Justice had similar mandates, hence the need to learn from each other and share best practices in other to uphold human rights and dignity despite the many challenges.

“These are challenging times for justice but we must not give up, it is for all of us who care for humanity to speak up from whatever perspectives that we can,” according to Justice Eboe-Osuji.

“I take the view personally that just because we are judges does not stop us being also human beings, citizens of the world.”

“Yes, we have to observe restraint and it is imperative in our work that we should not dabble into partisan politics.”

“As long as that is not done, there is nothing wrong with judges speaking up as citizens of the world where there is a need to speak up in support of justice. Let us keep on encouraging one another.”

“What the International Criminal Court and the ECOWAS Court of Justice have in common is that of human rights; we have a lot to learn from what you have done in that area, you have done very important work, you have shown resolves to stand firm to protect human rights.

“And I urge that justice be done at the instance of victims of violation of human rights.”

“We encourage you to keep it up, we want to learn from you and hopefully you see what we are doing in The Hague and what can be learned,” Eboe-Osuji said.

Justice Eboe-Osuji commended the ECOWAS Court of Justice on judgments delivered, stating that the court has effectively lived up to its mandates of defending the people of the sub-region and protecting their human rights.

Earlier, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Court Justice, Justice Gberi-De Ouattara, appreciated Eboe-Osuji for taking time to visit the court so that they can both share best ideas and experiences.

He said that the ICC has contributed a lot in shaping society through the delivery of punitive judgments on those who had violated human rights.

“One way or the other you contribute to the defense and protection of human rights because all the crimes that you are pursuing and all the sanctions that you are pronouncing aim at the end to protect human rights.”

“Therefore, in this regards, the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which equally has the mandates of protecting human rights is highly happy with your visit.”

“We are after the same goals which are to give quality justice to make humanity understand the value and dignity of human rights which cannot be negotiated.”

“The two courts have the objectives of defending the people by the quality of the decision we are able to demonstrate; however, justice will never go back as far as defense of human rights is concerned” according to Justice Ouattara.

Justice Ouattara said that one of the challenges being encountered by the court was for Member States to appoint a national authority who would execute the decisions of the court.

He explained that so far, out of the 15 member states, only 5 members have identified the national authority in charge of the execution of the decision of the court.

Justice Ouattara said the court has carried out sensitisation campaigns to bring the Member States as quickly as possible to appoint a national authority to execute the decisions of the court.

Also speaking, Justice Dupe Atoki, a judge of the ECOWAS Court of Justice said as President of the ICC, Justice Eboe-Osuji should make leaders of ECOWAS Member States not to see them as rivals but advocates for justice.

She said that as judges, they would continue to play their roles but it was important for leaders of Member states to ensure implementation of judgments.

Justice Eboe-Osuji, is in Nigeria to attend the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.