RETIRED justice of the Supreme Court, Justice George Oguntade

RETIRED justice of the Supreme Court, Justice George Oguntade, has said that rule of law is essential for stability and fairness without which individuals and society cannot function.

He spoke at the 2016 founders day lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, NIALS, titled “The Value of the International Court to Africa: Perspective on the Rule of Law, Peace and Development”, which took place at the Ayo Ajomo Auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka campus.

Dignitaries at the event included Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who was represented by Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, represented by Mr Taiwo Adedokun, former NIALS DG Ayo Ajomo, former external affairs minister Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi and Lagos State University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun.

Justice Oguntade who was the Chairman of the occasion in his opening address said, “There is no doubt that the consistency of the Rule of Law is an indispensable and fundamental building block for modern democratic society and economic development. Rule of Law is also the foundation for a better quality of life for societies and people around the globe. Rule of Law is our compass, our gravity.

“It ensures predictability, stability and fairness. Without it, we cannot function.

Individuals cannot flourish, businesses cannot thrive and society cannot grow”.

Scourge of terrorism

Speaking further, he pointed out that “There is no better time to discuss the theme of this lecture: “The Value of the International Criminal Justice to Africa.

“The International Criminal Court tries cases against people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, or crimes of aggression. Jurisdiction can be complicated in some situations, but generally, the Court may only assert jurisdiction in states which are signatory to the Rome Statute. The jurisdiction of the ICC covers countries that have signed and ratified the Rome Statute on or after July 1, 2002.

“Back home in Nigeria, the scourge of terrorism has left in its trail myriad issues of humanitarian concern such as the displacement of communities, reconciliation and the protection of victims of the scourge.”

In his goodwill message, the CJN noted that NIALS is fulfilling the mandate of the founding fathers by engaging in Continued Legal Education, CLE, and other programmes.

Also speaking at the event, the institute Director General Prof. Adedeji Adekunle stated that “the institute is deeply involved in the Nigerian project through continued legal education, carrying out researches and organising round tables.”

On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation said the theme of the lecture “Is pertinent at this time because in recent times, there have been debates within the justice literature concerning the relationship between peace and justice/ rule of law.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) not only features conspicuously in such debates, it is often raised in support of the contention that justice poses a threat to peace. Some thinkers have argued that the ICC might be seen not just as a challenge to impunity but also as a possible inhibition to peace negotiations and agreements”.`

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