A judge of the Appeals Division of the International Criminal Court, ICC, at The Hague, Netherlands, Her Excellency Judge Akua Kuenyehia has called on the Nigerian government to institutionalize the international criminal law in the country.
She made the call at the maiden distinguished African Scholars’ Lecture organized by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, NIALS, in Abuja.
The ICC judge said: “The need for institutionalization of International Criminal Law in Africa has become live in the wake of the devastation and havoc wreaked by many internal civil conflicts that have ravaged the continent”.
She further noted that “the aim is to present viable ways in which International Criminal Law can become part of Criminal Law in African states so that the fight against impunity does not become the sole responsibility of international criminal courts but also that of individual member states of the International Criminal Court”.
Prof. Kuenyehia said that gender based crimes are difficult to prosecute due to the challenges of investigation and witnesses. “Gender based crimes are difficult to investigate because people are not willing to volunteer information due to stigma”.
Akua Kuenyehia who was a guest lecturer at the occasion advocated for the need to educate all stakeholders in the prosecution of gender based crimes such as rape on its negative effects on the society.
“There is a need to sensitise people on the effects of rape on the society. We need to build capacity for judges through the allocation of resources to enable them execute their responsibilities. This also incudes training for prosecutors and investigators to enable them do their jobs diligently and professionally”.
She also called for the political will of leaders on the continent for the ICC policy to work.
Earlier, the Director General of NIALS, Prof. Epiphany Azinge in his opening remarks said: “The Distinguished African Scholars’ Lecture is a platform to bring contemporary and burdensome issues to the fore, and to celebrate African scholars who have made exceptional contributions in their field of study. The institute is fortunate to have Judge Akua Kuenyehia to share her wealth of experience with the public”.