The International Criminal Court (ICC) has denied claims that it invited President Muhammadu Buhari as its keynote speaker during its 20th anniversary because he had the highest rating on integrity.
Presidential aide on social media, Lauretta Onochie, had shared a post quoting a member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin as saying “Buhari showed me a document he brought back from ICC, Hague. A top-secret Background Check on Global leaders, past and present. He is the only leader rated XXX1 on Integrity, the Highest Rating Globally. That’s why he is the only World Leader on the ICC floor to address them.”
But ICC spokesperson, Fadi El Abdallah in a statement through the Public Affairs unit of the Court, said: “The International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) is not involved in any integrity or background check of world leaders.”
He added that it has been standard practice for the ICC to invite Heads of State one at a time for certain high-level events, such as anniversary commemorations but also the opening of the judicial year, adding that “this is because of logistical and protocol reasons involved in hosting dignitaries at that level”.
He also disclosed that other heads of state have been invited and have participated in high level events organised by the Court in the past, stressing that Buhari was invited as keynote speaker for the commemorations of the 20th anniversary.
El Abdallah said Buhari was not the only leader invited to the event but that ‘Nigeria was the only State represented by its President’.
He added that more than 30 other States were represented at the level of national Senates and Parliaments chiefs, as well as Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice.