At a time when the International Criminal Court is facing unprecedented challenges and threats, as well as accusations of an unfair bias toward the African Continent by the African Union (AU), it has elected for the first time a black president from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Just like every 11 March, after a period of three years, the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC), sitting in a plenary session, elected Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji (Nigeria) as President of the Court for a three-year term with immediate effect. Judge Robert Fremr (Czech Republic) was elected First Vice-President and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (France) Second Vice-President.
Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji takes over from Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi of Argentina, who was elected three years ago as the first female president of the Court.
The election of Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji comes at a time when some African countries have been debating about leaving the Court because they think it is bias toward the African continent. The African Union even proposed a mass withdrawal from the Court in Janaury 2017, during their annual gathering. Coming from a country, which has affirmed that it will not pull out of the Court, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji could be the right pick to mend Africa’s relationship with the ICC.
The Nigerian presidency congratulated him on its twitter handler.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) March 11, 2018
Who is Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji?
Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji was born in Anara in Imo State, Nigeria, on September 2, 1962.
He obtained his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Calabar, Nigeria.
He obtained his master of laws degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and doctor of laws degree from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 and practised briefly there.
After achieving his Master’s degree from McGill in 1991, he worked as a barrister in Canada. From 1997 to 2005.
During his stay in Canada he worked as a barrister and law lecturer.
Judge Eboe-Osuji 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.
Working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone as senior prosecution appeals counsel in 2007/08 and returning to the ICTR from 2008 to 2010 as Head of Chambers, he became the Legal Advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2010.
He has authored two books and numerous law journal articles in international law.
On 16 December 2011, he was elected as a judge of the International Criminal Court. He won the office in the fifteenth ballot in the Assembly of States Parties with 102 votes.
The Nigerian born judge in 2014 recused himself as a member of the bench that tried the case involving Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who was standing trial with his vice William Ruto for crimes against humanity following the Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007.