…says candidates qualified to be elected
By Victor Arjihromanus
The African Bar Association, AFBA, has dismissed reports that some African judges didn’t have the requirements needed to be elected into the International Criminal Court, ICC, at the Hague, as misleading.
It also said it was particularly disturbed by what was described as the misinterpretation of the report of the ICC Advisory Committee on the nomination of the Judges which saw notable African Judges highly qualified for the election stage including Ishaq Bello of Nigeria, Raymond Sock of Gambia, Aisse Tall of Senegal, Proper Milanelou of Congo and Mario Samba of Sierra Leone.
A statement issued by AFBA’s Director, Press Information, Heredia Siki, made available to Vanguard, explained that contrary to the reports, the candidates have met the formal requirements to become judges of the ICC, adding that they deserve support and not negative comments laced with political undertones.
The statement reads: “The African Bar Association is disturbed by some negative comments credited to some Africans, particularly in Nigeria which were widely circulated in the local and international media in relation to the nominations of some notable African Judges for election into the Bench as judge of the International Criminal Court (I.C.C) in December, 2020. We wish to state categorically that the criteria for nomination and election as judge of the ICC are well stated in the Rome Statute, the treaty signed by all member countries and not subject of political or mundane interpretations.
Over the years, Africa has been the central theatre of the activities of the court and this has made it necessary for the African Bar Association which has a working partnership with the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) to pay the desired attention to the process leading to the Elections of Judges into the Court.
Consequently, the AFBA is very disturbed about the misinterpretation of the report of the ICC Advisory Committee on the nomination of the Judges which saw notable African Judges highly qualified for the election stage including Ishaq Bello of Nigeria, Raymond Sock of Gambia, Aisse Tall of Senegal, Proper Milanelou of Congo and Mario Samba of Sierra Leone.
While Maria Samba was adjudged very qualified, the other African candidates were adjudged formally qualified. The misinterpretation of the nomenclature are very qualified and formally qualified is unnecessary as all candidates are going to pass through an election where all members of the assembly of state parties will cast their votes for any of these candidates and those of other countries depending on their strategic choice based on a number of underlying factors.
“Justice Ishaq Bello one of the most productive and respected judges in Nigeria was adjudged formally qualified so was Justice Raymond Sock of Gambia is a Judge of the Gambian Supreme Court and former Acting Chief Justice of the Gambia. These candidates have met the formal requirements to become judges of the ICC and that is what is important and therefore they deserve our support not negative comments laced with political undertones.
Nomination of Judges into the ICC are based on expressed interest which are made to state parties by the judge concerned for formal endorsement and nomination and is not based on religion, political or sectional interests.
Finally, it should be noted that there are candidates from Europe, Asia, and North America who have also been adjudged “formally qualified” who will also compete at the election in December 2020. What African judges least deserves now are not negative comments coming from Africans as these comments are capable of undermining African interest.
The African Bar will continue to work for and support all African judges qualified to serve in the Bench of the ICC.”