By Uthman Mohammed
The International Court of Justice has announced the election of a Nigerian judge as the new President of the Court.
Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, 55, who was called to the bar in 1986, begins his three-year term at the ICJ in The Hague, Netherlands with immediate effect.
Judge Robert Fremr from the Czech Republic was elected First Vice-President with Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France as Second Vice-President.
The ICJ, which is composed of 15 judges elected by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, can issue binding ruling on disputes between states.
“The Presidency coordinates with the other organs and seeks the concurrence of the Prosecutor on matters of mutual concern.
“In accordance with the Rome Statute, the ICC’s governing treaty, the Presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the Court, with the exception of the Office of the Prosecutor.”
The court also notes that the Presidency is to “conduct judicial review of certain decisions of the Registrar and concludes Court-wide cooperation agreements with States and international organisation.”
DENISAURUS News understands that Taslim Olawale Elias, a former Attorney-General and Chief Justice, was the first Nigerian President of the ICJ.
President Chile Eboe-Osuji, the second Nigerian and fourth African to lead the court said: “I am deeply honoured to have been elected by my peers as President of the International Criminal Court.”
The 55-year-old who holds a doctorate degree in law, worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as prosecution counsel and senior legal officer to the judges of the tribunal from 2005 to 2007.
“As I take up my duties, I feel encouraged that I am able to rely on the wide experience of the two Vice-Presidents, Judge Robert Fremr and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, both of whom I have closely worked with previously,” he said.
He adds: “I look forward to working together with them as well as with all the judges, all the Officials and the staff of the Court in a spirit of collegiality.
“I also look forward to collaborating with the Assembly of States Parties, civil society and the international community at large, acting together to strengthen and reinforce the Rome Statute system, the 20th anniversary of the adoption of which we celebrate this year.
“I am also grateful to the previous President, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, and Vice-Presidents, Judges Joyce Aluoch and Kuniko Ozaki, for their work and leadership.”
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a congratulatory message to Judge Eboe-Osuji.
The Presidency did so in a tweet, saying: “Congratulations to Judge Eboe-Osujiof #Nigeria, on his election as President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) @IntlCrimCourt.”