The African Bar Association (AFBA) has warned against the stalling of the election of Ishaq Bello, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, into the bench of the International Court of Justice (ICC).
It also endorsed the nominations of Raymond Sock of Gambia, Aisse Tall of Senegal, Proper Milanelou of Congo, and Mario Samba of Sierra Leone as Africa’s representatives at the court.
This was contained in a statement on Thursday by AFBA director, press office, Heredia Siki.
The elections hold in December.
The statement said the association was disturbed about the ‘misinterpretation’ of the report of the ICC advisory committee by local and international media on the nomination of the African judges for the positions.
It also decried the negative comments made against the nomination of the judges, saying it was capable of jeopardising the region’s interest.
It said, “The AFBA is very disturbed about the misinterpretation of the report of the ICC Advisory Committee on the nomination of the Judges which saw notable African judges highly qualified for the election stage including Ishaq Bello of Nigeria, Raymond Sock of Gambia, Aisse Tall of Senegal, Proper Milanelou of Congo and Maria Samba of Sierra Leone.
“While Maria Samba was adjudged very qualified, the other African candidates were adjudged formally qualified. The misinterpretation of the nomenclature of very qualified and formally qualified is unnecessary as all candidates are going to pass through an election where all members of the assembly of state parties will cast their votes for any of these candidates and those of other countries depending on their strategic choice based on a number of underlying factors.”
AFBA said Mr Bello was one of the most productive and respected judges in Nigeria and was formally qualified just like Mr Sock, who is a judge of the Gambian Supreme Court and former acting Chief Justice of the Gambia.
It added that “both candidates have met the formal requirements to become judges of the ICC and that is what is important and therefore they deserve our support not negative comments laced with political undertones.”
The association said there are candidates from Europe, Asia, and North America, who have also been adjudged “formally qualified” who will also compete at the election.
“What African judges least deserve now are not negative comments coming from Africans as these comments are capable of undermining African interest. The African Bar will continue to work for and support all African judges qualified to serve in the Bench of the ICC,” AFBA stated.