African judges are making headway in their legal careers on the international platform. On the 11th of March 2018, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji from Nigeria was elected as the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Judge Eboe-Osuji was elected after a plenary session, alongside Judge Robert Femr of Czech Republic as the First Vice-President and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France as the Second Vice President.
Judge Eboe-Osuji will start his three year term with immediate effect. He said “I am deeply honoured to have been elected by my peers as President of the International Criminal Court. 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. 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.”
Judge Eboe-Osuji was a judge from 2012, serving for nine years at the Trial Division his biography at the ICC read. Before joining the ICC, he was the Legal Advisor to the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights. He served as Principal Appeals Counsel for the Prosecution in the Charles Taylor Case at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2007-2008), and has held several posts at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, including Head of Chambers (2008-2010) and Lead Prosecution Trial Counsel (2000-2003).
According to the ICC press release, “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 Presidency oversees the activities of the Registry and provides input into a broad range of administrative policies affecting the Court’s overall functioning. Furthermore it conducts judicial review of certain decisions of the Registrar and concludes Court-wide cooperation agreements with States and international organizations.”
Last year, some African countries attempted to withdraw from the ICC citing bias in how the court judged mostly African leaders. The attempt of a mass withdrawal of African countries from the ICC was backed by the African Union, however Nigeria and Senegal opposed the withdrawal.
Just last month, the International Court of Justice appointed Judge Ahmed Yusuf as the President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).