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ICC: Selection panel ranks Nigeria’s nominee low

JUSTICE Ishaq Bello, who was nominated by the President Muhammadu Buhari has been ranked low by an international criminal court advisory committee.

Bello was ranked low along with six others.
Apart from Bello, 19 others were nominated for the ICC job from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Brazil among others.

Justice Ishaq Bello, who was nominated by Buhari to The Hague, was described by the ICC as “lacking knowledge of the workings of the court and the Rome statutes.”

The report of the Advisory Committee on Nomination of Judges on the work of its seventh session was released on Wednesday.

The report states that Bello, who is the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, is fluent in English and knowledgeable in criminal law but seems to lack the required skill needed for the ICC job.

The advisory committee classified all nominees into four categories: highly qualified, qualified, only formally qualified and not qualified.

Justice Bello was designated as ‘only formally qualified’.

The report on the Nigerian judge read in part, “The committee noted that the candidate, currently Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria, has extensive judicial experience in criminal proceedings. The committee noted that the candidate was articulate and knowledgeable regarding criminal law and procedure at the national level.

“The committee noted that the candidate does not have direct experience in international criminal law and procedure based on his answers to questions regarding the functions and powers of pre-trial and trial chambers and the admissibility of evidence collected in violation of legal provisions, and did not have in-depth knowledge of the Rome Statute or the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court. He demonstrated, however, good general knowledge of how a judicial body should work in a multicultural environment.

“Based on both his professional experience as well as his answers during the interview, the committee concluded that the candidate is, subject to the issue of language, only formally qualified for appointment as judge of the International Criminal Court.” Justice Bello, who hails from Kaduna State, attended Ahmadu Bello University and began his career in Sokoto State.

He is also a former Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court.

Bello presided over the infamous ‘Apo Six’ case which involved the extrajudicial murder of six persons by policemen.

In his ruling, he sentenced two policemen to death but acquitted the officer who reportedly gave the order, a move which attracted criticisms.

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