Nigerian-American lawyer, Morris Anyah, makes shortlist for ICC prosecutor

Nigerian-American lawyer, Morris Anyah, has been shortlisted for the position of prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Out of a total of 144 applications received as of November 25, 2019, Anyah and three other persons were the only applicants shortlisted for the position.

Others in the list are Fergal Gaynor (Ireland), Susan Okalany (Uganda) and Richard Roy (Canada).

Currently a trial attorney in the law office of Morris A. Anyah, LLC in Chicago, Illinois, USA, Anyah is admitted to the bars of Illinois, Georgia and the District of Columbia and to lists of counsel at the ICC, Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), and Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

He was the lead counsel who defended Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, in his appeal at the SCSL.

Although Anyah’s primary language is English, he has some knowledge of Dutch and Igbo, which is one of the requirements stated by the ICC.

According to a report by Justice in Conflict, many have expressed shock about the names of shortlisted candidates. This is due to the fact that some international criminal law bigwigs who were rumoured to have applied for the position did not make the list.

Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Ishaq Usman Bello, chief judge of the federal capital territory (FCT) high court, as judge at the ICC.

The ICC, which began functioning on July 1, 2002, sits in The Hague, Netherlands.

It is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal which has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crime of aggression.

The court, however, lacks universal territorial jurisdiction, and may only investigate and prosecute crimes committed within member states, nationals of member states, or crimes in situations referred to the court by the United Nations security council.

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