Chris Kwaja Gets UN Human Rights Council Appointment

The United Nations Human Rights Council has approved the appointment of Dr. Chris Kwaja as a member of the Working Group on Mercenaries and the right to self determination in Africa.

Chris Kwaja

The decision was taken at the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council, which took place on 23rd March 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Kwaja is currently a Senior Lecturer and Researcher with the Centre for Peace and Security Studies, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria. He brings to the Council years of experience and expertise on the activities of mercenaries in Africa, with specific focus on the impact with national and regional security.

The two other members of the Working Group on Mercenaries and the right to self determination in Africa are from South Africa and Uganda.

Chile Eboe-Osuji Elected President Of International Criminal Court (ICC)

Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at a plenary sitting have elected Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji, a Nigerian as the president of the court for a three-year term.

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Judge Robert Fremr from the Czech Republic was elected First Vice-President with Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France as Second Vice-President.

Chile Eboe-Osuji, who became the first Nigerian to be elevated to the court in 2012, would serve as ICC president for the next three years.

“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.

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.”

The Role of the ICC Presidency

The ICC Presidency – consisting of the President and the two Vice-Presidents – plays a key role in providing strategic leadership to the ICC as a whole.

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 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.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established on 17 July 1998, by a conference of 160 States which established the first treaty-based permanent international criminal court. The treaty adopted during that conference is known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The court investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

Profile of Chile Eboe-Osuji

  • The new president holds an LLB from the University of Calabar, Nigeria (1985), an LLM from McGill University, Canada (1991), and a PhD in international criminal law from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2011).
  •  He was elected to ICC in December 16, 2011, thus making him the first judge of Nigerian descent in that Court. He won the office in the fifteenth ballot in the Assembly of States Parties with 102 votes.
  • He has taught international criminal law as an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, Canada, and has an extensive record of legal scholarship and publications.
  • Judge Eboe-Osuji served as a legal expert to Nigeria’s delegation to the ICC-ASP Special Working Group on the Definition of the Crime of Aggression and practised law as a barrister, appearing in many criminal, civil and constitutional cases before national courts in Nigeria and Canada.
  • Prior to joining the ICC, Judge Eboe-Osuji was the Legal Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, during which time he led the writing of submissions to the European Court of Human Rights and the United States Supreme Court.
  • He also served as the 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).

ECOWAS Opens Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (RCSDC) Office in Abuja

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has opened its Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (RCSDC) office in Abuja.

The technical opening of the centre was attended by members of the West African Health Organisation, two ministers from ECOWAS and development partners.

The centre will work with ECOWAS to promote health security in the region and will begin operation with 11 staff recruited from across the region.

In his welcome speech at the event, the Deputy Director-General of West Africa Health Organisation, Laurent Assogba, thanked the Nigerian government for accepting to set up and host the centre.

Mr. Assogba said the centre became necessary to help the region combat diseases from spreading across its countries.

He said regional leaders saw the need to collaborate in disease control especially after the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015, which quickly spread across the region.

In his words:

“The 47th session of the authority of Head of State and Government of ECOWAS held in 2015 in Ghana approved the establishment of RCSDC with headquarters in Nigeria. The agency is setup to strengthen member states’ health systems and enhance the region’s capacity for epidemics prevention, diagnosis and control.”

Mr. Assogba added that the staff were recruited by ECOWAS after commissioners of the group gave their approval.

Togo’s Minister of Health, who is also the current Chairman of the ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers, Moustafa Mijiyawa, said the establishment of the centre demonstrated the willingness of the authorities to fight epidemics that have been ravaging the region.

Mr. Mijiyawa said the region needs to collaborate in the fight against epidemics and public diseases because these have the ability to cross borders, especially due to the porous borders in West Africa.

According to Mr. Mijiyawa:

“Going by our recent experiences in the fight against epidemics especially in the Ebola crisis, it has become sine qua non to take up the mission of disease coordination, surveillance, response, diagnosis and prevention and control across the region.

RCSDC is set up because we know prevention is better than cure. We know that outbreaks of diseases can have adverse effect on the economic, social and pathological environment.”

The Nigerian Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria was honoured to be entrusted by sister countries to host the centre.

He said Nigeria gladly accepted the task due to the role it played during the fight against Ebola in Guinea and Liberia.

Mr. Ehanire said setting up the centre in Nigeria will assist not just Nigeria, but other West African countries to have more coordination and responses to disease control.