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Buhari nominates Ishaq Usman Bello as ICC judge

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Ishaq Usman Bello, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, as judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague.

This was made known on Thursday in a tweet by Bashir Ahmad, Personal Assistant on New Media to the President.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

Justice Ishaq Usman Bello was born on January 5 1956 in Zaira, Kaduna State.

He will be the fifth Nigerian judge to serve at the Hague. Others who had served at the ICC included Charles Onyeama, father of Geoffrey Onyeama, current Minister of Foreign Affairs. Taslim Olawale Elias, Prince Bola Ajibola and Chile Eboe-Osuji who was named in March 2018 as the president of the court.

In March 2018, Chile Eboe-Osuji  was named the new president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, for a three-year term that begins immediately.

The new nominee, Bello paid attention to the de-congestion of prisons in Abuja. He started visiting prisons within his jurisdiction, releasing over 40 awaiting trial prisoners in the process.

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By the end of October 2017, he was appointed as the chairman of the Presidential Committee on Prison Reforms and De-congestion, now Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reforms and De-congestion, by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

The committee’s responsibility was to lead the reform processes of the Nigerian prison system.

The judge has visited 36 prisons and ordered the release of 3,822 inmates – about 5 percent of the Nigerian prison population.

He also presided over the “Apo Six” case starting from 2005. The case, which was called Nigeria’s “most infamous case of extrajudicial killing” by the BBC, cost six young civilians their lives.

In 2017, Judge Bello convicted two police officers over their involvement in the murder of two out of the six civilians.

“The two defendants have no regard for the sanctity of human lives,” Judge Bello was quoted by AFP news agency as telling the court.

“They are not only over-zealous but also extremely reckless.

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