Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has lauded both the Federal Government and the government of Senegal for choosing to retain their membership of the International Criminal Court while some African countries had pulled out.
According to Falana, last week at the annual summit of the African Union, leaders and representatives of member states voted to adopt a strategy to collectively withdraw from the ICC.
He said the basis for the decision was that the African countries alleged that the ICC was selective in its prosecution.
Falana said while the decision was being made, it was only Nigeria and Senegal that distanced themselves from it, saying he was proud of the two countries for “refusing to vote for impunity in Africa.”
He also commended the new President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, for retaining the country’s membership of the ICC as opposed to his predecessor’s announcement last year that The Gambia would pull out of the ICC, alongside South Africa and Burundi.
He faulted the argument that ICC was selective.
He said, “The vote to quit the ICC by African leaders is based on the allegation that the ICC has exclusively focused attention on African leaders in investigating and prosecuting cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
“To justify the decision of African states to quit the ICC, the African Union announced that the mandate of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights would be amended to include criminal jurisdiction.
“Nothing was, however, said by the African Union on the urgent need by member states to strengthen their criminal justice system and accountability mechanisms.