AGF restates Nigeria’s commitment to global rights standards
The Federal Government has expressed commitment to the highest standards of adherence to human rights, in the conduct of all her international affairs, including counter insurgency operations against Boko Haram in the country.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, made the pledge when he received a delegation from Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, Madame Fatou Bensouda, in Abuja.
In a press statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Salihu Othman Isah, the AGF assured the delegation that Nigeria has high value for its relationships with the ICC, and will unequivocally continue to fulfill its obligations to the court.
Malami also disclosed that the Nigeria Army has conducted its operations in the Northeast region in a highly professional manner, imbibing the best practices in the areas of international human rights and humanitarian law.
He also revealed that he was aware of the eight case files opened against Nigeria by the ICC, which the prosecutor intends to investigate in her next stage of assessment of Nigerian situation.
According to him, Boko Haram sect committed six of the alleged cases, while the remaining two were by the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The minister insisted that Nigeria has the prerogative rights in handling the alleged crimes referred to, in the prosecutor’s 2015 Report of activities in the country.
“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report, and will therefore continue present efforts in the above direction.’’
He further added that government is committed to ensuring that troops are guided by their rules of engagement, promising that any infractions will be severely dealt with.
The minister however gave indication of this administration’s resolve to ensure respect for human rights by all, while remaining unshaken and resolute in combating terrorism.
Malami therefore solicited the support and understanding of ICC and the international community, especially in regard to the conduct of the affairs of the Nigerian Armed Forces that has helped the world to deal with the scourge of terrorism in the continent and restoring normalcy to the traumatized communities in the Northeast region.
Responding, the leader of delegation, Phakiso Mocho Choko said the prosecutor does not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment.
He disclosed that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations are unable to resolve through internal mechanism.
The prosecutor, through the delegation expressed support and willingness to work with Nigeria, in addressing all identified crimes and criminality against humanity, but informed that he was optimistic in continuing with their engagement.
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