The judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have elected Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji of Nigeria as president of the court for a three-year term.
Judge Robert Fremr from the Czech Republic was elected first vice-president with Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France as second vice-president.
Reacting to his election, Eboe-Osuji promised to work with all stakeholders of the court especially civil society groups.
His words: “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-president, 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.”
Eboe-Osuji’s election attracted the attention of the Nigerian federal government as the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama conveyed the government wishes to him saying, “Nigeria is proud of you.”
Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji was born in Anara in Imo state on September 2, 1962. He obtained his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Calabar.
He obtained his master of laws degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and doctor of laws degree from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 and practiced briefly here.
After achieving his Master’s degree from McGill in 1991, he worked as a barrister in Canada. From 1997 to 2005.
During his stay in Canada he worked as a barrister and law lecturer.
Judge Eboe-Osuji worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as prosecution counsel and senior legal officer to the judges of the tribunal. From 2005 to 2007.
Working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone as senior prosecution appeals counsel in 2007/08 and returning to the ICTR from 2008 to 2010 as Head of Chambers, he became the legal advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2010.
He has authored two books and numerous law journal articles in international law.
On December 16, 2011, he was elected as a judge of the International Criminal Court. He won the office in the fifteenth ballot in the Assembly of States Parties with 102 votes.
Eboe-Osuji’s election is coming barely four days after another Nigerian man, Toni Iwobi was elected as Italy’s first black senator.
Iwobi, who was born in Gusau, Zamfara state is the chief immigration spokesman for the far-right league party in Italy, a party which has been accused of stirring up xenophobia.