United Nations – Nigeria has nominated Mr Chile Ebolie-Osuji as its candidate for the International Criminal Court (ICC) judicial elections later in the year.
The ICC’s governing body will meet in New York from Dec. 12 to Dec. 21 to elect six new judges, who will serve non-renewable terms of nine years.
The gathering of the ICC State Parties Assembly would also elect new prosecutor to the ICC to replace Luis Moreno-Ocampo, whose tenure will expire on June 2012.
Nigeria which ratified the Rome Statute on Sept. 27, 2001, has never had a judge in the court.
Nigeria’s candidate in the January 2009 elections, Ebolie-Osuji, did not make it to the
ICC bench in spite of a strong showing at the complex and competitive election.
Two years later, Ebolie-Osuji, 49, believes that with an endorsement from the AU and
ECOWAS, coupled with early start of campaign and strong support from his home government, he had good prospects.
“The 2009 results will show that had any West African been elected in the 2009 election,
it would have been me, by a wide margin among the other West African candidates,
some of whom are showing up again,’’ Ebolie-Osuji wrote.
“Those results also show that I was the second top ranking candidate over all among the
10 African candidates, who did not get elected.
“The only African candidate who finished ahead of me that did not get elected was “old” Prof John Duggard of South Africa.
“With South Africa not fielding him again, I would now rank as the strongest African candidate going into this election.
“That ranking (from the last election) combined with my AU and ECOWAS endorsements and our early start (all of which were missing the last time) should give Nigeria plenty of confidence in the coming elections.
“Nigeria only needs to push ahead with the needed support to ensure success in December,’’ he wrote.
With 25 years legal experience in Nigeria and Canada courts, Ebolie-Osuji is at present the Legal Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland.
He has also worked for the Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone (STSL) and the International Criminal Tribunal to Rwanda (ICTR).
From 2008 to 2010, he was Head of Chambers for the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.
Since the opening of applicants’ registration on June 13, eight candidates have filed an application for judge’s positions at the ICC, including four Africans.
One of the four African applicants, John Bankole Thompson, is Sierra Leone’s candidate, who worked as a judge for the STSL in Freetown from 2004 to 2009.
The other African applicants are Burkinabe Gustave Kam, who has been an ad litem judge at the ICTR since 2004 and Antoine Mindua from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
More would apply before the end of registration, on Sept. 2.
The candidates from Nigeria and Mauritius have received the endorsement of the AU for the December elections.
The Mauritius candidate’s application had yet to appear on the ICC website although the AU at its last summit in Malabo was said to have endorsed the candidature.
The ICC is the world’s first and only permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
As of June 22, 116 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the Court.
Out of them 32 are African states, 15 Asian states, 18 Eastern Europe, 26 Latin American and Caribbean states, and 25 Western European and other states. (NAN)