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.
Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN gave this pledge when he received a delegation from the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, Madame Fatou Bensouda, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Going by the press statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, the HAGF 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 their operations in the North East region of the country in a highly professional manner imbibing with 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 Nigeria situation.
According to him, six of the alleged cases were committed by Boko Haram sect while the remaining two was 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 the government is committed to ensuring that troops are guided by their rules of engagement, promising that any infractions will be severely dealt with.
He however gave an indication of the administration’s resolve to ensure respect for human rights by all combatants remain unshaken and will be pursued with vigour.
Malami therefore solicited the support and understanding of ICC and the international community especially in regards 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 our North East region.
Responding, the leader of delegation, Mr. Phakiso Mocho Choko informed that the prosecutor do 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 optimistic in continuing with their engagement.
Also as part of the delegation are Claus Molitor and Sophie Maurice.