By Amin Kef (Ranger)
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio met with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan KC, on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at the opening of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The meeting focused on Sierra Leone’s leadership role at the ICC and its tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Prosecutor Khan emphasized the need to strengthen the already excellent partnership between Sierra Leone and the ICC. He urged Sierra Leone to take the lead among the African members of the UN Security Council (A3) on accountability and ICC matters.
Khan praised Sierra Leone for its commitment to the rule of law, stating that the nation has many accomplishments to be proud of. He also reiterated Sierra Leone’s dedication to promoting accountability and human rights protection during its tenure at the Security Council.
President Bio assured the ICC of his government’s readiness to continue its leadership role in supporting the effectiveness of the ICC. He expressed his eagerness to work with the ICC during Sierra Leone’s tenure at the Security Council to advance priorities aimed at building a just, safe, and secure world.
Earlier in the day, President Bio joined other global leaders at the welcome reception and opening of the UNGA’s 78th Session. The theme for this year’s assembly is ‘Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and Its Sustainable Development Goals Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability For All.’
President Bio highlighted the significance of the annual gathering, stating that it was a crucial moment in history to address global issues. He emphasized that the decisions made would be decisive in shaping the future of the current generation and those to come.
“I look forward to a robust engagement and presenting Sierra Leone’s National Statement during the second day of the high-level General Debate,” President Bio tweeted.
The UNGA, the main forum for all 193 Members of the UN to discuss international issues, holds regular sessions from September to December each year. The sessions resume in January and continue until all issues on the agenda are addressed, often just before the next session starts in September the following year.
The 78th session of the Assembly, which officially opened on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, will continue until 2024. As part of the Assembly’s annual session, a General Debate is held each September, attended by Heads of State and Government. This year’s General Debate runs from Tuesday, September 19, 2023, until Tuesday, September 26, 2023.