The Federal Government on Wednesday in Abuja expressed commitment to upholding the highest standards of human rights in the conduct of all international affairs including counter-insurgency operations in the country.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, (SAN) made the pledge when he received a delegation from the office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, the minister assured the delegation that Nigeria had high value for its relationship with the ICC.
Malami said that the Nigerian Army has conducted its operations in the North East region of the country in a highly professional manner, imbibing best practices in the areas of international human rights.
He also said that he was aware of the eight case files opened against Nigeria by the ICC which the prosecutor intended to investigate in her next stage of assessment of the Nigeria situation.
According to him, six of the alleged cases were committed by the Boko Haram sect while the remaining two are by the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The minister insisted that Nigeria had the prerogative rights in handling the alleged crimes referred to in the prosecutor’s 2015 report of activities in the country.
“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report and will, therefore, continue present efforts in the above direction.’’
He further added that the government was committed to ensuring that troops were guided by the rules of engagement, promising that any infractions would be severely dealt with.
He solicited the support and understanding of ICC and the international community especially in regards to the conduct of the affairs of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Responding, the leader of the delegation, Mr. Phakiso Choko, said that the prosecutor did not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment.
He said that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations were unable to resolve through the internal mechanism.
The prosecutor, through the delegation, expressed support and willingness to work with Nigeria in addressing all identified crimes and criminality against humanity.