By Ben Agande, Abuja.
In his first high level meeting in New York president Goodluck Jonathan assured the international community of his administration’s “unwavering commitment” to upholding the rule of law and implementing all pledges made by Nigeria to the international community.
Addressing the Plenary Session of the United Nations on the Rule of Law, President Jonathan emphasised the imperative for the rule of law to be further strengthened at national and international levels in order to ensure equity and fairness for all people.
According to him, the rule of law at international level must be based on the core principles of the United Nations which were further reaffirmed in the 2005 World Summit Document.
“Nigeria subscribes to the view that it is only an international system based on the rule of law that can guarantee the protection of the rights of individuals and the interests of the less powerful in the global arena.
“The principle of equality of States remains an important element in the promotion of the rule of law at the international level. The international community should therefore discourage any semblance of selective observance and enforcement of international law.
“Nigeria recognizes the important role of the International Court of Justice and other international tribunals in the peaceful resolution of international disputes. The work of the ICJ and other international criminal tribunals has contributed to the promotion of world peace and security as well as ending impunity around the globe by holding accountable, those responsible for grave violations of international and humanitarian law’ he noted.
The president stressed that “Member States should therefore continue to provide support for these international adjudicatory mechanisms to enable them discharge their respective mandates, President Jonathan told the high-level assembly.
The President told the global gathering that Nigeria’s return to Constitutionalism and Democratic governance in 1999 has provided the enabling environment for enhanced observance of democratic tenets and protection of individual rights and fundamental freedoms.
“Equality before the law and access to justice are cherished values that are enshrined in our Constitution. Government has also consistently demonstrated strong political will to fulfill its international obligations through the domestication of relevant international instruments and recommended practices such as the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 to promote open government; the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, to give impetus to the global fight against terrorism, terrorist financing and economic crimes,” he said.
He said his Administration recognized the nexus between the Rule of Law and Democracy and the primacy of the rule of law as a prerequisite for the promotion and protection of democracy, good governance and sustainable development and therefore envisions the promotion of the rule of law at the international level as a vital means of strengthening cooperation and promoting enduring peace and security among nations.
The president promised that his Administration will, continue to encourage the Nigerian judiciary to play a pivotal role in the advancement and elaboration of the rights of Nigerians through effective oversight over the actions of the executive and legislature.
The session which was opened by the Secretary of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, was also addressed by the President of the Security Council, the President of the International Court of Justice, the Head of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and other participating Heads of State and Government.