The President of the Republic of Niger, H.E. Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, on Wednesday, made a commitment to fight against impunity for atrocity crimes.
By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
“Today, in the presence of Prosecutor Bensouda, I reaffirm Niger’s strong commitment to the ICC and the fight against impunity for atrocity crimes,” said President Issoufou. “The Court deserves the political support of its States Parties, and the resources its needs to effectively fulfil its mandate” the President added.
The Prosecutor’s visit was in response to the invitation of the President of Niger’s National Assembly, H.E. Mr Ousseini Tinni to officially address parliamentarians and other distinguished attendees.
The prosecutor also met with the President of the Republic of Niger, H.E. Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, H.E. Prime Minister Brigi Rafini and the Minister of Justice, H.E. Mr Abubakar Malami as well as other key officials and stakeholders. In the margins, Prosecutor Bensouda also engaged with local and international media as part of her efforts to raise awareness about the Court and the work of her Office.
President Issoufou highlighted the importance of accountability to stability in the Sahel region and expressed Niger’s full support for the Court and the work of the Office of the Prosecutor.
He commended Prosecutor Bensouda’s unyielding commitment to the cause of international criminal justice and to continuing to fulfil her mandate, with full independence and impartiality, wherever the Court has jurisdiction.
Prosecutor Bensouda thanked H.E. President Issoufou for his support, underscoring the importance of continued and increased cooperation with the ICC in order to fully discharge its complementarity mandate. The discussions further focused on the need for States to reinforce the capacity of their criminal justice systems to address these serious crimes at the national level.
According to Crisis Group Report, “the huge, sparsely populated, impoverished Sahel is affected by growing numbers of jihadi extremists and illicit activities, including arms, drugs and human trafficking, estimated to generate $3.8 billion annually.”
The prosecutor noted, “Where the Court has jurisdiction, and no-one else is doing, or is able to do justice for the victims” said the Prosecutor, “our aim is to establish the truth and on the strength of the evidence, bring the perpetrators of these serious crimes to face justice in a court of law. By so doing, we hope to deter the commission of future crimes, and provide some comfort to survivors, restore dignity to lives devastated by atrocity crimes, and honour the memory of those whose lives have been lost. We must never forget the victims. We must work to prevent future victimization.”