Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji, President, International Criminal Court (ICC), on Friday urged judges of the ECOWAS Court of Justice (ECJ) to always uphold justice to protect human rights and dignity.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Eboe-Osuji, who was in the country to attend the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments, made the call in Abuja.
Eboe-Osuji said that both ICC and ECJ had similar mandates, hence the need to learn from each other and share best practices in other to uphold human rights and dignity despite the many challenges.
According to him, these are challenging times for justice but we must not give up. It is for all of us who care for humanity to speak up from whatever perspectives that we can.
“I take the view personally that just because we are judges does not stop us being also human beings, citizens of the world.
“Yes, we have to observe restraint and it is imperative in our work that we should not dabble into partisan politics.
“As long as that is not done, there is nothing wrong with judges speaking up as citizens of the world where there is a need to speak up in support of justice. Let us keep on encouraging one another.
“What the ICJ and the ECJ have in common is that of human rights; we have a lot to learn from what you have done in that area, you have done very important work, you have shown resolves to stand firm to protect human rights.
“And I urge that justice be done at the instance of victims of violation of human rights.
“We encourage you to keep it up, we want to learn from you and hopefully you see what we are doing in the Hague and what can be learnt,” Eboe-Osuji said.
Eboe-Osuji commended the ECJ on judgments delivered, stating that the court has effectively lived up to its mandates of defending the people of the sub region and protecting their human rights.
Earlier, Justice Gberi-De Ouattara, Vice President of the ECJ appreciated Eboe-Osuji for taking time to visit the ECJ so that they can both share best ideas and experiences.
He said that the ICC has contributed a lot in shaping the society through delivery of punitive judgments on those who have violated human rights.
“One way or the other you contribute to the defense and protection of human right because all the crimes that you are pursuing and all the sanctions that you are pronouncing aim at the end to protect human rights.
“Therefore, in this regards, the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which equally has the mandates of protecting human rights is highly happy with your visit.
“We are after the same goals which are to give quality justice to make humanity understand the value and dignity of human rights which cannot be negotiated.
“The two courts have the objectives of defending the people by the quality of the decision we are able to demonstrate; however, justice will never go back as far as defense of human rights is concerned” Ouattara said.
Ouattara said that one of the challenges being encountered by the court was for Member States to appoint a national authority who would implement the decisions of the court.
He explained that so far, out of the 15 member states, only 5 members have identified the national authority in charge of the execution of the decision of the court.
He said the court has carried out sensitisation campaigns to bring the Member States as quickly as possible to appoint a national authority to execute the decisions of the court.
Also speaking, Justice Dupe Atoki, a judge of the ECJ said as President of the ICC, Eboe-Osuji should make leaders of Member States not to see them as rivals but advocates for justcice.
She said that as judges, they would continue to play their roles but it was important for leaders of Member states to ensure implementation of judgments.
Edited by Felix Ajide