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Judicial and Institutional Developments in Nigeria against Atrocity Crimes and the Protection of Victims – Chino Obiagwu

 The context

Since 2012, nearly the entire northeast Nigeria, comprising one-sixth of Nigeria’s 170 million people, has been under severe decimation by Boko Haram terrorists and counter-terrorism by the Nigerian Military. The destructive impart of the armed conflict is huge and tragic:

  • Over 15,000 civilians non-combatants have been killed;
  • Nearly 3m civilians are internally displaced or forced across borders as refugees;
  • More than 6 billion Dollars have been expended in the war without end;
  • Over 75% of children of school age are out of schools as most schools are either destroyed or closed.

The severity of violation of human rights and humanitarian laws are massive.

Boko Haram, a lethal group

Boko Haram is undoubtedly the deadliest terror group in the world. In April 2016, their leader announced its affiliation to ISIS, making it more political and IT driven. They are receiving ISIS assistance that has increased their capacity to roll out propaganda messages, and monitor movements of Nigerian military and civilian populations. They recruit children as young as 8 years and psycho-drill them into suicide bombers, with capacity to monitor their movements when being trained or sent on terror missions. The rate of child soldiers engaged in combat in the northeast for Boko Haram is higher than any other armed group in human history. The sophistication of Boko Haram’s armory, and the precision of their attacks on targets when they strike, suggest considerable military professionalism, which smack of mercenary support.

Cutting out funding to Boko Haram has been a strategy Nigeria has failed to mobilize world’s support.

Violations by the military

At the same time, the Nigerian military have responded with high-handed violence, leading to death of thousands of innocent civilians. The ordinary Nigerians who live outside the northeast could justify military excessive use of force as ‘necessary in the war’ but reports show that both sides of the conflict are committing atrocity crimes, especially war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A recent post on the blog of Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), the parent coalition of Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC), clearly depicts the dire situation of massive violations of humanitarian laws and very high rate of impunity. It also shows the near-impossible expectation of ICC’s intervention to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by both sides.

Despite compelling evidence, no-one has been held accountable for these war crimes [committed since 2013 by Boko Haram and Nigerian military]. This incident [a 2014 killing of 600+ suspected members or supporters of Boko Haram by the Nigerian military and government-backed Civilian Joint Task Force in broad day light in Bama Borno State] sheds light on an under-reported pattern in Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram. Security forces have committed serious violations of humanitarian law throughout the conflict. These crimes have not been investigated and their perpetrators remain unpunished. War crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Nigeria – a party to the Rome Statute – fall within the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) jurisdiction. The ICC Prosecutor has opened a preliminary examination into atrocities committed by both sides, but is rightly waiting to see whether Nigeria will begin domestic investigations. In this context, could the ICC’s involvement galvanize Nigerian politicians to hold their own accountable?

The evidence is mixed. A Rome Statute domestication bill intended to punish perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity continues to be debated. During his first week in office, Nigeria’s President Buhari pledged to investigate the military’s crimes. However, in the 18 months that have elapsed since that promise was made, the government has provided no information on how or when these investigations will be conducted. In the absence of genuine national proceedings, the ICC Prosecutor must decide whether to open her own investigations. [But she is in a dilemma]. At a time when the African Union has backed a “strategy for collective withdrawal” from the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor will be loath to open investigations into one of the ICC’s most reliable supporters.[1] Yet anyone hoping that the Prosecutor will be spared this decision must contend with three obstacles to domestic proceedings: the extent of the crimes will stretch Nigeria’s criminal justice system; investigations that are likely to expose how the military could have, but failed to stop Boko Haram; and investigations that may lead prosecutors to some of the most powerful individuals in the country. These practical and political roadblocks should put the Prosecutor on notice: the interests of justice and the interests of the ICC are likely to diverge

The Extent of the Crimes

The ICC’s preliminary examinations are based on evidence of mass arrests, torture, and summary executions committed systematically and repeatedly by security forces, resulting in thousands of deaths and disappearances. A UN report found evidence that detainees in military custody were denied food and water and, as a result, died on a daily basis. Research by Amnesty International reported that more than 7,000 men and boys died in military detention between 2011 and 2015 due to this abhorrent treatment.

The ICC Prosecutor will only open investigations if Nigeria is unwilling or unable to do so domestically. The scale of the crimes alone will test the ability of Nigeria’s criminal justice system, which already struggles to ensure due process. According to the National Human Rights Commission, 35,889 people in prison are awaiting trial, or 70% of the prison population. These figures do not include thousands of suspected Boko Haram fighters, who are detained by the military. Nigeria’s international partners have pledged their assistance to help investigate and prosecute these suspects, but military violations do not appear to be on the agenda. Nigeria would need to devote significant resources to investigating military crimes committed over several years, across three states, when witnesses are likely to be among 2.3 million displaced people. The chances of the justice system being able to handle such investigations in the near- to medium-term are slim.

The Military’s Failures

The second problem is that investigations will force a re-assessment of the military’s crimes. The horror inspired by Boko Haram’s abuses has led some to rationalize military violations as the ‘excesses’ of over-zealous soldiers, doing ‘whatever it takes’ to defeat an existential threat. But the military’s violations are not an unfortunate and unintended consequence of its determination to win the war. Such euphemisms are deeply misleading. They call to mind soldiers, in the heat of battle, using disproportionate force in a firefight. In fact, the crimes being considered by the ICC occurred outside of battle, when there was no threat to person or property

Current framework for judicial action

The current judicial framework in Nigeria to address atrocity crimes and redress to victims can be discussed under the following headings: the current laws, institutional structure, investigation and prosecution capacity, courts and capacity to adjudicate, and political challenges

a. Current Laws

 Outdated penal laws without atrocity crimes

Nigeria is yet to domesticate the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court[2]. Being a dualist state, international crimes are not part of its domestic penal laws. The current applicable laws are the Criminal Code (enacted in 1945 and applicable in southern states) and the Penal Code (enacted in 1924 and applicable in northern states including the northeastern states). These Codes provide for the offences of murder punishable by death as well as treason or waging war against Nigerian State, also punishable by death. No crime of war crimes, genocide[3] or crime against humanity is provided. Many of the cases of killings by suspected Boko Haram members are charged under the Penal Code, or sometimes the Criminal Code depending on the location of the assault.

New anti-terrorism law did not go far with atrocity crimes

In 2011, Nigeria enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act, (amended in 2013) which punishes the crime of terrorism as well as the offences of supporting, financing, encouraging and supplying materials to terrorists.  The Act is strong in criminalizing support to Boko Haram, but it is weak as a tool to attack terrorism because it has very broad definitions of elements of the offences it created. Thus, apart from the conviction and sentence to life imprisonment of Kabiru Sokoto and his co-accused, who masterminded the 2013 Christmas day bombing near Abuja, no other notable terrorist has been successfully prosecuted and convicted under PTA. Activists have criticized[4] the Act for containing provisions that contradict the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. In particular, the Act suspends the rights of suspects to access to their lawyers, relations and independent medical treatment. In 2014, NCICC commenced a suit at the Federal High Court to strike down provisions of the Act that offend the Constitutional provisions. The case is pending at the Court of Appeal (NCICC v Attorney General of the Federation.).

New SGBV crimes created 

Another legislation that regulates atrocity crimes and redress to victims is the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act, which punishes violence targeted at women and children, or group of vulnerable people. Assaults or mistreatment of IDPs fall within these provisions.

Challenging procedures of the courts

The procedures to enforce these laws had, before 2015, been the Criminal Procedure Code (enacted in 1924) and the Criminal Procedure Act (enacted in 1945 for enforcing the Criminal Code). These laws are too obsolete to meet the challenges of 21st century terrorism crimes.

Happily in 2015, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was passed, aimed at improving the investigation and prosecution of crimes in the country. Laudable provisions are contained in the new Act to reduce delays and empower the investigators, prosecutors, defence and courts. One of such is section 232, which provides that the court must protect witnesses in terrorism and other violent or sex crimes, and where necessary, evidence of witnesses may be taken in chambers, shielded in screen, voice-disguised or by video link. Also identities of witnesses and victims should be protected in terrorism trials. So also the provision in the Act that victims can be compensated in the criminal proceedings and that criminal trial should not be paused or stayed because a party intends to appeal against any decision taken by the court within the proceedings, called interlocutory appeals. This has been the main cause of delay in criminal trials in the country.

Not yet impactful reforms

Despite these innovations, there has been little progress in investigating and prosecuting atrocity crimes. The situation of high violence, low prosecution and gross impunity remains. E.g.

  • In 2015, State Security Services reported that over five thousand suspected members of Boko Haram are in their custody. Only a handful have been charged and prosecuted since then. As many more are daily arrested in the renewed onslaught on the terrorists, the detention population of the terror suspect must have doubled by March 2017[5].
  • On March 14 2014, Boko Haram fighters attacked Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri and released about 650 men detained there on suspicion of being members of Boko Haram. In retaliation, the military was alleged to have rounded up and extra-judicially killed the re-arrested escapees in several hundreds. Their mass graves were widely reported by CSOs. To date, no soldier or commander has been held to account for this crime, report of investigation of the allegations made public.
  • Amnesty International reported in 2017[6] that hundreds of men, women and children are holed up in dire custodial conditions in many detention place including in 7 Battalion, a new military facility purpose-built to deal with Boko Haram menace. Similar military custodial facilities exist across the country with little or no civil oversight.
  • We can safely say that over ten thousand suspects are in custody waiting to be tried, and only a few are put to trial. Such high state of lack of capacity and commitment to prosecute suspects fuels dissent, and contributes in radicalization of those who otherwise were innocent.

There is no stronger basis for ICC’s intervention than the apparent inability or unwillingness of Nigeria’s national judicial system to deal with such massive atrocity crimes committed on both sides of the armed conflict.

b. Institutional structure

Police and the military

The institutions for investigating atrocity crimes are the Police set up under the Police Act 1945; the State Security Services and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency set up under the Nigerian Security Agencies Act 1992, (formerly Nigerian Security Organization Act 1978).

The military set up under the Armed Forces Act has responsibility only to investigate military offences committed by persons under service law. They are not authorized to deal with investigation and prosecution of crimes or engage in civil policing. They are not even authorized to keep custody of crime suspects, including suspected war criminals and terrorists. At the moment, the military’s involvement in policing has resulted in distorting its role, and negating its standard operational guide for engaging with non-combatants in armed conflict.

The Nigerian government has also set up special anti-terrorism forces, including the Joint Task Force, and anti-terrorism unit of the military and police, which are tasked with tracking terrorists and their supporters/financials.

Special counter-terrorism initiatives

In order to control funding of terrorism, the government has enacted the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, as well as the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, which are aimed at tracking movement of illicit funds in the formal sector, combating money laundering and financing terrorism. The Prevention of Terrorism Act punishes concealment of suspected terror-fund by banks and financial institutions. However, without international cooperation, policing terror funding within Nigeria’s weak bank tracking system remains futile.

Redress to victims – promises not kept

With respect to redress to victims, the government set up in 2014 the Presidential Task Force on the Northeast[7] and the Foundation for the Support of Victims of Terrorism[8]. The Trust Fund has attracted over 15 billion in pledges from the private sector as at December 2016, and nearly half of those pledges have been paid to the Fund. In reality, most victims, especially the IDPs are not resettled, even to return to communities already cleared of terrorists.

NCICC is currently in court in a class action on behalf of over three thousands IDPs for judicial orders forcing the Trust Fund to rehabilitate them and account for use of collected funds.

 Safe School Initiative (SSI)

There is also the Safe School Initiative[9], aimed at returning children to schools and taking those in most endangered areas to other states schools. Again, accountability for this laudable programme has remained unreported. CSOs need to play active role to see that these initiatives achieve their purposes.

Other institutional structure that have supported victims of terrorism in Nigeria, and addressed the effect of terrorism include:

  • National Emergency Management Agency, which has done greatly in managing nearly daily incidents of bombings, displacements, destructions of communities, etc
  • National Refugee Commission, that has mandate to handle displaced persons and refugees, and has contributed in setting the policy for state and federal government
  • National Human Rights Commission, whose mandate is to monitor and protect human rights of citizens, including victims of terrorism and of other forms of human rights violations.
  • Other executive initiatives exists, such as the offices of the special assistants or advisers to the President of humanitarian services, on IDPs, on the northeast; the Office of the National Security Adviser, among others.

c. Investigation and prosecution capacity

The police, State Security Service, and the special anti terrorism agencies have responsibility to investigate crimes committed in the country including terrorism crimes. The military have responsibility to investigate its officers and soldiers who are alleged to have committed crimes in their work. The Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney-General of the State have the ultimate responsibility for prosecution of offences in the country (federal or state offences respectively). Before 2016, the prosecution of terrorism offences was carried out solely by legal officers in the office of the AG of the Federation, and few times, external lawyers were briefed. In 2016, the AG of the Federation set up the National Prosecutions Team, made up of senior lawyers from the private bar as well as lawyers in the ministry of justice. The goal is to increase the number of cases prosecuted in order to clear the backlog. There is no doubt that with the huge case backlog in the courts, it will take a medium and long terms to see the impact of the team.

Prosecution of terrorism offences have not been progressing. Worst still, the investigation and prosecution of crimes allegedly committed by military are not known or reported. The impunity rates are very high, underscoring the need for the ICC to re-evaluate its reluctance to open investigations in to atrocity crimes in the country.

d. Courts and capacity to adjudicate,

The Nigerian courts are overworked, and suffer from huge case docket. An average day in a high court will involve up to 20 cases for a judge, and the judge takes notes of proceedings in long hand. This slows down the proceedings. And with nearly an hour spent for part-hearing of each of the listed cases, it is not practicable to attend to half of the cases on the court’s list. The result is continuously increasing backlog of cases. Unless drastic measure is taken, there is simple no feasible way the courts can take on the several hundreds of persons awaiting trial for terrorism charges, as well as the over 35 thousand awaiting trial in the prisons for ordinary crimes. The capacity of the courts are overstretched, and though the government have introduced the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and a new National Judicial Policy, all geared towards reducing delays in criminal proceedings, it will take considerable investments in infrastructure of the courts and the recruitment of new personnel to see significant breakthrough in reducing the rate of impunity for atrocity crimes. There is also need for government to increase its political will to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by the military, police and other agencies as well as by the government-backed Civilian JTF.

 e.  Political challenges,

 Poor political commitment to end impunity for the military

Many observers may seem to agree that there is slow political will for government to investigate crimes committed by its own forces in the northeast. It is argued that these violations are necessary fall out of the war, but Nigeria is state party to all relevant treaties regulating armed conflict, even in context of non-conventional armed conflict as is taking place in the country. There is responsibility to see that members of the armed forces who are alleged to commit crimes are investigated and prosecuted to the highest level of command.

Army Human Rights Office

The military set up in 2016 a Human Rights Complaint Office, aimed at improving civilian redress system. The progress on this laudable initiative has not yet been reported, but it shows the military’s internal willingness to engage with the civil society and the community to improve on its rules and practices of engagement. The CSOs should build on such initiative as window for larger engagement in respecting human rights and humanitarian laws.

Role of the ICC in Nigeria

The ICC prosecutor has the responsibility to step in where the Nigerian government is unwilling and unable to prosecute these crimes. Whether the ICC can risk opening another situation in Africa in face of the blackmail by AU that it is targeting African is left to be seen, but the civil society must continue to put pressure on Nigeria to strengthen its national judicial system for investigation and prosecution and for the ICC to undertake the necessary prosecution where the national system fails. The ultimate goal is the protection of, and justice for the victims. Without adequate redress, Nigeria’s numerous victims continue to suffer double-jeopardy, which Nigeria government and the ICC must address in coming months.

 

6th March 2018

Chino Obiagwu

Chair, Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC).

[1] http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/214461-nigeria-pledges-remain-icc.html.

[2] The bill is pending at the National Assembly. The same bill has been passed by previous assembly and but then president, Olusegun Obasanjo, refused to sign it in 2007. There appear reluctance in the political society to tackle atrocity crimes with the efficiency and commitment it deserved. After all, only very poor people suffer most from the terror carnage.

[3] Nigeria has domesticated the Genocide Convention which prohibits genocide, but not being a penal statute, is not a common basis for criminal charges among prosecutors.

[4] See C.J. Dakas SAN & Chino Obiagwu in ‘A critique of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2011 as amended’, 2013 NCICC publication.

[5] http://dailypost.ng/2017/02/02/boko-haram-3332-suspects-currently-custody/

[6] https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/africa/nigeria/report-nigeria/

[7] https://www.today.ng/news/nigeria/186237/establishes-inter-ministerial-task-force-north-east

[8] http://victimssupportfundng.org/

[9] http://theirworld.org/news/safe-schools-initiative-launched-after-kidnappings-in-nigeria

NEWSLETTER FOR 23RD-27TH APRIL 2018

 

HELLO,
Welcome to another edition LEDAP Nigeria’s Weekly Newsletter which keeps you up to date on the latest Human Rights News and updates in the law, What we are up to and Upcoming Events.
23rd – 27th April 2018

“There can be no peace without justice and respect for human rights.” – Irene Khan

 

NEWS   


NBA Awards LEDAP for Criminal Justice Reforms

Chino Obiagwu receiving the award

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Criminal Justice Reform Committee held its 5th Criminal Justice Reform Conference in Asaba, Delta State from the 24th – 27th April 2018. At the closing dinner of the Conference, a number of distinguished stakeholders including, LEDAP’s lead counsel, Chino Obiagwu were honoured for their immense contributions to the progress of criminal justice administration in the country. Read more 

Gov. Al-Makura Signs Bill Establishing Disability Rights Commission
Gov. Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has signed into law the bill to establish Disability Rights Commission. With the governor’s assent, the government is now working to put up structures and modalities in place to have the commission. Read more

NSCDC Partners with NHRC
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has partnered with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to create conducive environment for people to enjoy their rights without discrimination. Read more

 Amnesty Kicks Against Plan of Onitsha NBA to Give Awards to ‘human rights violators’
Amnesty International (AI) says the proposed recipients of the human rights award by the Onitsha, Anambra state, branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) are undeserving of the awards.The recipients of the awards were listed to include James Nwafor, former commander of the Special Anti robbery Squad( SARS), Mike Okiro, chairman, police service commission; Fasugba Temitope, divisional police officer, Asaba (former DPO at Central Police Station, Onitsha) among others. Read more

Investigate Ekweremadu’s Asset Declaration form, Group Writes CCB

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Center), a non-governmental and non-partisan human rights and development league, has petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), demanding the investigation of asset declaration form of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Read more

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Massacre in Benue, Zamfara – 61 Killed, 82 Houses Razed

61 persons were killed in separate dastardly incidents in Benue and Zamfara States. Whereas 31 persons, mostly women and children, lost their lives in six communities of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State in the hands of suspected herdsmen, another 30 were massacred in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State, by suspected gunmen. Read more

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The World Is Sending Thousands Of Tonnes Of Electronic Waste To Nigeria Illegally

Unregulated dumping of electronic waste has led to environmental degradation and human rights violations, especially in developing countries in Asia and Africa (read: mostly Nigeria) where exporting is easy, labour laws are lax, and communities are poor.  Read more

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Group Develops App to Inform Nigerians of Rights

The Constitutional Rights Awareness and Liberty Initiative (CRALI), a civil society organisation, has developed a mobile application to inform Nigerians about their rights.The mobile application called ‘Know Your Rights Nigeria’ was launched at the United States consulate office in Lagos on Tuesday. Read more

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UN Staff Pension Fund Mired in ‘dirty profits’ from Firms Guilty of Rights Abuses

The United Nations is facing calls for a full review of its staff pension fund after the Guardian uncovered that it has around a billion dollars invested in companies whose activities are or have been incompatible with core UN principles and programmes. Read more

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Oil Company Eni Accused (in Italy) of Causing Floods in a Nigerian Village

The Nigerian community of Aggah has been flooded due to the operations of a company controlled by Eni. It is seeking justice in Italy where the crucial decisions affecting its village are being taken. ”There is a different type of migration flow from Nigeria to Italy, different from the one that sees people fleeing poverty and violence. It is the migration of those who seek justice and demand that Italian multinational companies are judged according to European laws and treaties rather than African courts” Read more

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U.S. Rates Nigeria Low On Respect For Human Rights

The government of the United States has released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017 and has rated the Nigerian government very low in terms of respect for fundamental human rights of the citizens. Read the full report here

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Saudi Arabia Executes 48 in 3 months

Human Rights Watch said Saudi Arabia has executed 48 people so far in 2018, half of them for non-violent drug crimes. Read more

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Rights Abuse – NHRC Demands Urgent Review of Pre-Trial Detention System

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to review the pre-trial detention system, saying available evidence showed excessive use and abuse of the practice in Nigeria. Read more

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NBA Engages Lagos Government on Taxation, Land Use Charge

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos branch has said it would engage Lagos state government on the controversial land use charge, taxation, land documentations and other topical issues in its law week programme scheduled to commence May 5, 2018. Read more

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Simi Decorated as U.S. Human Rights Ambassador
A Nigerian singer, Simisola Bolatito Ogunleye, popularly known as Simi has been endorsed as a U.S. human rights ambassador. Read more

Africa Loses $50 Billion to Illicit Financial Flows Annually– AFDB

While speaking at an event themed, “Strengthening the role of parliament in combating illicit financial flows from Africa (IFFs)’’ in Abuja, AfDB’s Senior Director in Nigeria Dr. Ebrima Fall said if the illicit financial flows are allowed to continue, they could lead to financial crises and widespread poverty on the continent, the latter already happening in some instances. Read more

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Army Denies Human Rights Violations In IDP Camps

The Nigerian Army has denied allegations of human rights violations levelled against them in the course of their duty in Borno state. The allegations, were denied by the Theatre Commander of LAFIYA DOLE, Major General Rogers Nicholas, in a statement on the 26th of April 2018. Read more

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Police Arrest and Detain Melaye’s Lawyers

The Nigerian Police has arrested two lawyers; David Amaefuna Esq and Pius Ufo Inyang Esq of Rickey Tarfa and Co who are members of the legal team of Senator Dino Melaye. The use of unlawful detention to attack the independence of lawyers and the legal profession undermines the rule of law. Read more

 

OPINION 


Will the Death Penalty Protect India’s Daughters From Rape?

In India’s ongoing project to combat child sexual assaults, the weekend was filled with cheer, or gloom, depending whom you speak to. The death penalty was approved as a punishment for the rapists of girls below the age of 12, following an ordinance that amended an existing criminal law. Many in the country cheered while many others questioned how the death penalty would function as a deterrent. Read more

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The Insanity of the Death Penalty

”Crimes punishable by death are based on passion and emotion, not reason. They do not result from a conscious cost-benefit analysis where a person considers the fact that if they commit a certain act, they could be put to death.” Read more

 

India’s Death Penalty for Rapists of Young Girls could Push Offenders to Kill
With the majority of rapes committed by someone known to the victim, the new law could drive offenders to murder to avoid detection. Read more

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Musings On U.S. Damning Report

This 48-page report prepared and made public by the United States Department of State was unequivocal about persistent impunity at all levels of government in Nigeria, lack of transparency of the Buhari administration and massive corruption by government officials under Buhari’s watch. Read more

LEDAP@WORK 

LEDAP Submits Report to Human Rights Committee

LEDAP together with Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative, and Women Enabled International have submitted an NGO report for the Human Rights Committee’s development of a List of Issues for Nigeria. This report focuses on rights abuses against women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria and Nigeria’s human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights towards this group.

 

LEDAP Releases Statement on 62nd Ordinary Session of the ACHPR

LEDAP has released its statement on the 62nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Right holding in Noukatt,Mauritania  from April 25 – May 9 2018. The statement examines Nigeria’s compliance with human rights standards and principles as it relates to Torture, Extra-judicial Killings, and Responses to Terrorism and Crisis;  Violent extremism and the Right to Life; and Gender Inequality. Read full statement here

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Chino Obiagwu Speaks at Law Week, NBA Makurdi branch

Chino Obiagwu, Lead Counsel, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, presented a paper on the theme, “Incorporating International Crimes into the Corpus of Criminal Justice System in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges,” at the Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association, Makurdi branch on the 23rd of April 2018. Read more

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LEDAP Launches Torture Project in Partnership with UNDEF


LEDAP has launched its  Torture Prevention Project Targeting Police – In partnership with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the National Committee against Torture. The project is aimed at tackling torture and ill treatment in policing. The project will be located Lagos, Adamawa and Yobe States, as well as at the Federal Capital Territory. For more information and the call for expression on interest for consultancies, reach out to info@ledapnigeria.org or pamela@ledapnigeria.org

LEDAP, National Judicial Institute, and AfricaLii commence Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii) 
Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii) is aimed at bringing legal materials, all laws and case decisions in Nigeria free of charge to the public. The official launch is coming up soon but the NigeriaLii portal currently contains several thousands of case decisions, statutes, rules of court, and other legal materials. Visit the NigeriaLii website here

 

PeepIntoTheLaw   


Man Sentenced to Death in Ekiti

An Ekiti State High Court on the 26th April 2018 sentenced a man, Kingsley Okorowande, to death by hanging for armed robbery. Read more

 

Lagos Chief Judge Launches Small Claims Court

As part of efforts to fast track justice delivery in commercial disputes involving small claims, the Lagos State Judiciary, on Monday inaugurated Small Claims Courts. Read more

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There is no Time Limit Within which an Application for Leave to Appeal as an Interested Party May Be Brought

The Court of Appeal has held in the recent case of ONUKAGHA & ANOR v. OKOROAFOR & ORS (2018) LPELR-44080(CA),  has stated that one who applies for leave to appeal, as an interested party, does not need extension of time to seek leave to appeal. Read full judgement here.

 

EVENTS  


Nigeria To Host 3rd International Chamber of Commerce Africa Conference On International Arbitration In Lagos

This conference will provide an indispensable update on developments in the region and will be the most important gathering for the African arbitration community. The conference will hold from the 18th – 20th June 2018. For early bird registration click here

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Facebook: Seeking Proposals for Global Literacy & Accessibility Challenge Grants

In order to better understand and address global literacy and accessibility issues, Facebook is currently inviting the academic community to respond to a call for research proposals in the field of literacy and accessibility. Read more

 

 

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NEWSLETTER FOR 16TH -20TH APRIL 2018

 

HELLO,
Welcome to another edition LEDAP Nigeria’s Weekly Newsletter which keeps you up to date on the latest Human Rights News and updates in the law, What we are up to and Upcoming Events.
16th – 20th April 2018

“The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

NEWS   


International Criminal Court President Visits Nigeria, Silent on Rome Statute

The President of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Chile Eboe-Osuji, who concluded his official visit to Nigeria last week, has called for the federal government’s support to fight against impunity “for the gravest crimes.” However, he was silent on the domestication of the Rome Statute which Nigeria signed on the 1st June 2000. Read more


Rights Group Seeks Declaration of Emergency on Security

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has called for a state of emergency on security following the recent killings of scores of Nigerians in Taraba, Benue, Kogi and Kaduna and Kwara states. Read more

How Nigerian Senators Spend Multi-Million Naira ‘Jumbo Pay’

“N1.8 million on newspapers. N10 million for domestic trips. N1.5 million to maintain a computer — every three months.” A newly-obtained National Assembly spending document cited these and nine similar expenses as leading justifications for the multi-million naira payouts lawmakers rake in monthly or quarterly as “running cost”. Read more

 

Group Calls for Adeyanju’s Release, Condemns Alleged Police Clampdown on Shia Protesters

Pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has called for the unconditional release of its convener, Deji Adeyanju who was detained by the Nigerian police on Tuesday, April 16th, 2018. Read more

 

‘No Amount of Killing will Stop Us’: Nigerian Police Open Fire to Disperse Protesters

The Nigerian police fired bullets and tear gas to disperse Shi’ite Muslim protesters marching for their leader’s freedom in the capital on the 16th of April 2018, organizers said at least one demonstrator was killed and several were wounded by gunfire. Read more

El-Zakzaky – 7 Feared Dead As Shi’ites, Security Agents Clash

No fewer than seven persons were feared dead on Monday, 16th April 2018, while 21 others sustained injuries, as members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, engaged security operatives in a bloody clash in Abuja. The clash followed demands by the sect members for release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, by the Federal Government. Read more

Senate Confirms Anthony Ojukwu to Head NHRC

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Anthony Ojukwu as the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The confirmation was made after the Senate considered a report from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, David Umaru (APC, Niger East). Read more

Senate Transmits ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’ to Buhari for Assent

The Senate on Tuesday resolved to transmit the Age Reduction Bill (Not Too Young to Run Bill) and 11 others, to President Muhammadu Buhari,for assent. Read more

Falana Criticises FG On Shiites, Police Clash

Femi Falana, lawyer and human rights activist in a statement on Monday said security forces breached the fundamental rights of  protesters and that the Federal Government has not given any justifiable reason why it has continued to keep El-zakzaky in custody without trial, despite the court order for his release. Read more

 

Theresa May Urges Nigeria To End Laws Against Same-Sex Marriages 

Speaking at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Prime Minister said the United Kingdom would support any Commonwealth nation seeking to reform  the “outdated” legislation. Read more

Nigerian to Represent Africa On UN Rights Panel

Nigeria’s candidate, Amb. Peters Emuze has been elected to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in a keenly-contested election held at the UN Headquarters, New York. The Correspondent of the Newsmen reports that Emuze was elected for a four-year tenure. Read more

US urges Nigeria to change tactics against Boko Haram

As the United States steps up its military presence in Africa, it hopes to share lessons learned in the Middle East with Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel fighting extremist groups. Read more

Group Writes CPJ Over Detention Of Bayelsa Based Publisher Since 2016

A Bayelsa based community advocacy group, Ondewari Health, Education and Environmental Project (OHEEP), has sent a petition to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ,) over the alleged arrest and continued detention of Chief. Jones Abiri, the publisher of Weekly Source by Department of State Services, (DSS) since 2016. Read more

Desperate for justice, Nigerians Turn to a Radio Station for Help

Amid rampant abuse of  law and power, people in Nigeria are trying a strategy of ‘naming and shaming’ on live radio at the country’s first radio station devoted to human rights. Read more

 

55 Politicians, Others Stole N1.354tn in Eight Years, SERAP Alleges
A new report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed how 55 politicians, high-level public officials and leaders allegedly stole N1.354 trillion between 2006 and 2013 from Nigeria’s treasury. Read more

Court Grants 22 Detained Shiite Protesters Bail

An Abuja Magistrate Court has granted 22 suspected members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shiites) bail on 19th April 2018. The Shiites were arrested by the Police on 16th April 2018 and accused of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, rioting, causing grievous hurt, amongst other charges. Read more

Get Justice For Shi’a Muslims, Amnesty International Charges Federal Government

Amnesty International Nigeria has asked the Nigerian government to bring those responsible for the unlawful killing of more than 350 Shi’a Muslims in the northern city of Zaria in December 2015 to book. Read more

Fishing in Oily Waters – Bodo’s Long, Painful Wait for Pollution Clean-Up

In 2008 and 2009, two incidents of massive oil spills from the Trans-Niger pipeline devastated the Bodo coastline destroying every living thing in the river. Read more

 

Bureau Of Public Procurement To Create Portal For Monitoring Government’s Contracts

The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), has concluded plans to launch a citizen engagement portal that willprovide interested persons with updates on government-approved projects. Read more

 

U.S. Releases Human Rights Report on Nigeria

The U.S. annual report on global human rights violations, released in Washington D.C. on Friday afternoon, said the administration of President Buhari “took steps to investigate alleged abuses, but fewer steps to prosecute officials who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government”. Read the report here

Lagos Waste: CSNAC asks EFCC to investigate ownership, operation of Visionscape

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), which is a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to investigate the ownership and terms of contract of the sanitation cleaning company, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, with the Lagos State government. Read more

 

OPINION 


Clashes Between Police and Nigerian Shiites Rekindle Fears of Radicalization

Over a three-day period in December 2015, Nigerian security forces carried out an operation in the northern town of Zaria that resulted in the deaths of more than 300 civilians, according to an official commission of inquiry. Read more

 

Negotiations with jihadists? A radical idea gains currency in Mali

“The proposal of dialogue is not completely new. It was discussed during the 2017 Conference of National Understanding in Bamako. At the end of the discussions, the participants – about 300 representatives of government, the opposition, armed groups and civil society – called for open meetings to find out what the jihadists really want.” Read more

A Chance to Curb Abuse in Mineral Supply Chains:  Monitoring of Companies’ Sourcing Practices Should Be Prioritized

“Communities near mines have faced ill-health and environmental harm as mines have polluted waterways with toxic chemicals. And children have risked their lives when working in small-scale mines in Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.” Read more

 

LEDAP@WORK 


Obiagwu, 63 others nominated for SAN

The Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, LPPC, have shortlisted  64 lawyers for the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. One of those nominated include, Edmund Chinonye Obiagwu, National Coordinator of the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP. Read more

LEDAP Launches Torture Project in Partnership with UNDEF

LEDAP has launched its  Torture Prevention Project Targeting Police – In partnership with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the National Committee against Torture. The project is aimed at tackling torture and ill treatment in policing. The project will be located Lagos, Adamawa and Yobe States, as well as at the Federal Capital Territory. For more information and the call for expression on interest for the consultancies, reach out to info@ledapnigeria.org or pamela@ledapnigeria.org

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Criminal Justice Reform Committee Unveils Plan to Honour Leading Jurists 

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Criminal Justice Reform Committee has unveiled plans to honour leading jurists and other stakeholders who have distinguished themselves in promoting criminal justice reform in the country. Those to receive the award include LEDAP‘s lead counsel, Mr.Chino Obiagwu. Read more

LEDAP, National Judicial Institute, and AfricaLii commence Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii) 
Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii) is aimed at bringing legal materials, all laws and case decisions in Nigeria free of charge to the public. The official launch is coming up soon but the NigeriaLii portal currently contains several thousands of case decisions, statutes, rules of court, and other legal materials. Visit the NigeriaLii website here

 

LEDAP at the 3rd Regional Congress Against the Death Penalty

LEDAP’s lead counsel, Chino Obiagwu – left
LEDAP’s lead counsel, Mr.Chino Obiagwu was in attendance at the 3rd Regional Congress against the death penalty held in Ivory Coast. He spoke on a panel concerning Africans on death row in foreign countries.

LEDAP Launches Torture Project in Partnership with UNDEF
LEDAP has launched its  Torture Prevention Project Targeting Police – In partnership with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the National Committee against Torture, LEDAP is getting set to launch a project to tackle torture and ill treatment in policing. The project will be located Lagos, Adamawa and Yobe States, as well as at the Federal Capital Territory. For more information and the call for expression on interest for the consultancies, reach out to info@ledapnigeria.org or pamela@ledapnigeria.org

Two Day Consultative Stakeholder Meeting on Strengthening the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice

LEDAP’s lead counsel, Chino Obiagwu – 3rd right

The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) in partnership with TrustAfrica held a two day consultative meeting with stakeholders on “Strengthening the ECOWAS Court of Justice and Enhancing Access to Justice in the West Africa Sub-Region” The event held from the 11th to the 12th of April 2018 at Rockview Hotels, Abuja. LEDAP’S lead counsel, Mr. Chino Obiagwu who is also the Chair, Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court(NCICC), convened the meeting.

 

PeepIntoTheLaw   


Supreme Court Voids Sack of 860 Nigerians by Mobil After 18 years

The Supreme Court on Friday reinstated over 860 Nigerians sacked by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited employed before the year 2000, as security officers.In a unanimous decision of five justices, the Supreme Court held that it was illogical and without legal backing for Mobil to have employed the Nigerians and sought to offload them to the Nigeria Police through the back door. Read more

Three Condemned to Death in Bayelsa for Kidnapping

The Supreme Court on Friday reinstated over 860 Nigerians sacked by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited employed before the year 2000, as security officers.In a unanimous decision of five justices, the Supreme Court held that it was illogical and without legal backing for Mobil to have employed the Nigerians and sought to offload them to the Nigeria Police through the back door. 

Lagos Chief Judge Launches Small Claims Court

As part of efforts to fast track justice delivery in commercial disputes involving small claims, the Lagos State Judiciary, on Monday inaugurated Small Claims Courts. Read more

 

EVENTS  


Nigeria To Host 3rd International Chamber of Commerce Africa Conference On International Arbitration In Lagos

This conference will provide an indispensable update on developments in the region and will be the most important gathering for the African arbitration community. The conference will hold from the 18th – 20th June 2018. For early bird registration click here

NIALS Offers Alternative Dispute Resolution, Dispute Management And Negotiation Skills Course

The Course is to expose lawyers in the private and public sector to the simple use of ADR as a means to resolving disputes other than the traditional court and administrative forums. It will provide insight into the Law and Practice of Arbitration in Nigeria and the Enforcement of Arbitral Awards. The course will hold at Ayo Ajomo Auditorium, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of Lagos Akoka, Lagos from the 2nd – 4th May, 2018. Read more here

Facebook: Seeking Proposals for Global Literacy & Accessibility Challenge Grants

In order to better understand and address global literacy and accessibility issues, Facebook is currently inviting the academic community to respond to a call for research proposals in the field of literacy and accessibility. Read more

 

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LEDAP’S STATEMENT ON THE 62ND ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

STATEMENT ON THE 62ND ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS HOLDING IN  NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA FROM APRIL 25 – MAY 9 2018.

Executive Summary

The human rights situation in Nigeria from the 33 year military rule to the 19 year civilian administration makes an interesting subject for review in view of the dire situation in Nigeria viz-a-viz counter insurgency war, ethnic mass killings, and violent extremism prevalent in the country.

This statement urges the Commission to review Nigeria’s compliance with its human rights obligations under the Banjul Charter which the Country has adopted and domesticated; and other international human rights instruments in line with the under listed areas of concerns and also, adopt the recommendations stated therein.

The statement examines Nigeria’s compliance with human rights standards and principles as it relates to Torture, Extra-judicial Killings, and Responses to Terrorism and Crisis;  Violent extremism and the Right to Life; and Gender Inequality.

Torture, Extra-judicial Killings, and Responses to Terrorism and Crisis.

The 9 year insurgency in the country has greatly exacerbated rights abuses in Nigeria. Online and offline reports reveal that counter-insurgency operations have led to rights violations and abuses by both state and non-state actors. These rights violations range from torture to enforced disappearances, arbitrarily long detentions, summary executions and extra-judicial killings, detention incommunicado and also sexual and gender based violence.

Creditably, Nigeria has adopted and domesticated the Banjul Charter as its national law, there is still an obvious poor level of implementation of this law as the unrestricted rights of Nigerians recognized under the Charter and guaranteed by the Constitution of the FRN are still not adequately protected.

There still exist, recorded incidences of torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and  detention incommunicado, perpetuated by state actors in response to terrorism and adequate redress mechanisms do not exist for victims because impunity thrives when there is no political will to punish offenders irrespective of their status or affiliation.

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project, between 2015 – 2017 through its identification mechanism has been able to identify and file 142 fundamental human rights cases in Northeast Nigeria bordering on unlawful arrest and prolonged detention, torture and other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment.

To further buttress these points, LEDAP in rendering support to a loosely organized movement of over 300 people seeking the release and re-union with their family members who were abducted by men of the Nigerian army since 2015 has adopted various strategies to seek redress for these victims including writing to the National Assembly and Presidential Panel demanding for public hearing on behalf of the 276 persons detained by the military since 2015. So far, nothing has been done.

There is a more urgent need for the government to make conscious and concerted efforts to better protect and promote the rights of citizens.

Recommendations

  • The Nigerian security operatives need to review their rules of engagement to mainstream human rights standards and principles during counter-insurgency operations.
  • With the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act 2017, government needs to collaborate with NGOs to facilitate implementation and adoption at the states level.
  • There is also a need to adopt rules and regulations that will strengthen the legal framework on torture in Nigeria and also support the training and re-training of security operatives in the country to maintain human rights standards.
  • We urge the government to officially gazette prisons and detention facilities available in the country to enhance accountability on incidences of torture, enforced disappearances, and detention incommunicado.

Violent Extremism and the Right to Life

The right to life is the most basic right provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and under the Banjul Charter.

Acknowledging the efforts that have been made by the government to fight insurgency in the country, the upsurge in violent extremism and land grabbing attacks by herdsmen is an uprising which if left unchecked, will lead to a total annihilation of Nigerians and will undoubtedly affect the West Africa Region and African Continent. Almost everyday, Nigerians are killed in their numbers in flagrant disregard for the right to life. News of horrendous and gruesome killings especially in the North Central and North West regions of Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Zamfara, Southern Kaduna, etc have inundated the media space. The government needs to take a decisive stance and action to end mass killings and crimes that have infiltrated the country.

On this note, we urge the Commission to review Nigeria’s obligation to protect lives and properties in line with efforts that have been made to strengthen its security apparatuses in order to meet its foremost responsibility.

On death penalty, it’s a truism that it doesn’t act as a deterrence in the criminal justice sector and it targets mostly indigent people.

It has become imperative for a nation wide moratorium to be called on the death penalty and positive de-jure measures taken to abolish same.

Recommendations

  • Strong positive measures need to be taken to address insecurity in the country including adopting MECHANISMS that prioritize conflict resolution and peacebuilding while making efforts to bring perpetrators of these international crimes to justice. Right to life is sacrosanct and the government needs to respect and value human lives as much as much as they value and promote their political agenda and gains.
  • In doing so, we urge the Nigerian government to protect indigenous people’s and minority group rights as this will go a long way to address the mass killings arising from land grabbing and farmers/herders clashes.
  • We also urge the Nigerian government to abolish the use of death penalty in criminal justice administration and facilitate reforms made in the criminal justice sector for effective administration of justice.

 

Gender Inequality

Irrespective of Nigeria signing and ratifying the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, otherwise known as the Maputo Protocol, not much affirmative actions have been made to address issues fostering discrimination against women in the African region.

Women and girls still face a lot of rights violations including but not limited to various forms of SGBV, child marriages, SRHR violations such as high maternal and morbidity rate, lack of access to adequate health care facilities, inadequate representation in the political and governance structure of the country, etc.

Recommendations

  • We urge the government to domesticate the Maputo Protocol adopted in 2003 so that Nigerian women can partake in the political, social, and economic processes, protect their reproductive health rights and eliminate all forms of discrimination against them.
  • In addition, we implore the legislature to expedite actions to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill into Law in order to promote the 35% affirmative action clause for women.
  • Local instruments and framework established to protect the rights of women in Nigeria should be strengthened so that Nigerian women would be empowered to take their place of pride in the region.

 

NBA Awards LEDAP for Criminal Justice Reforms

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Criminal Justice Reform Committee held its 5th Criminal Justice Reform Conference in Asaba, Delta State from the 24th – 27th April 2018. At the closing dinner of the Conference, a number of distinguished stakeholders were honoured for their immense contributions to the progress of criminal justice administration in the country.

Mr Chino Obiagwu being presented with the award by Delta State Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpor
Mr Chino Obiagwu being presented with the award by Delta State Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpor

The national coordinator of LEDAP, Mr Chino Obiagwu was one of those honoured for his outstanding contributions in the reform of criminal justice administration in Nigeria. According to the NBA, the award was made in recognition of Mr Obiagwu’s role as the Chairman of the National Working Group on the Reform of Criminal Justice in Nigeria between 2004 and 2009, which prepared the first draft of the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill (ACJA) that was eventually passed into an Act of the National Assembly in 2015.

Chino Obiagwu (left) and the other awardees

Other awardees at the well attended conference were Prof Yemi Akinseye-George SAN who was the secretary of the working group and later secretary of the Panel on Justice Reform, Fola Arthur Worry, a member of the Working Group and former Director of Public Prosecutions of Lagos state, Deji Adekunle the DG of Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and a champion of ACJA, as well as the current President of NBA Mr. A.B. Mahmoud SAN, J.B. Daudu SAN and G. A. Tetengi SAN who were the past chairmen of the NBA Criminal Justice Committee. Also honoured was the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa for his support to NBA’s criminal justice reform initiatives.

Institutional awards were also given to the MacArthur Foundation for supporting criminal justice reform over the years and to Yaradu’a Center.

Herdsmen Attack, Boko Haram Insurgency Constitute International Crime, What Has Nigeria Done? – Chino Obiagwu

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Chino Obiagwu, Lead Counsel, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, presented a paper on the theme, “Incorporating International Crimes into the Corpus of Criminal Justice System in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges,” at the Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association, Makurdi branch on the 23rd of April 2018. At the commencement of the presentation he highlighted the fact that this was an illustrious time to addressing this theme, as this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, a period that all peoples and nations are taking stock of world’s journey in the fight against impunity and accountability for atrocity crimes. He further recognised the importance of the presenting the paper in Benue state where innocent people are being killed daily in large numbers and there is little to no prosecution of the perpetrators.

The paper focused on examining, what the Nigerian government has done domestically to incorporate and implement international criminal laws, and to walk locally all her good talk internationally? To answer this question, the paper first expatiated on what is meant by International Criminal Law and its elements before going on to address the International treaties that Nigeria had signed to and those that have been domesticated.

He noted that although Nigeria, has ratified and domesticated the Genocide Convention, as well as the Geneva Conventions, the core provisions of these Conventions do not meet the threshold contained in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which Nigeria has signed in June 2000 but is yet to domesticate. This in turn means that Nigeria falls back on its common criminal codes and penal codes to deal with conducts that amount to international crimes. The three core international crimes are genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes. He stated that elements of the three core crimes are covered to some extent under the Nigerian Criminal Code and Penal Code – e.g. Murder, rape, physical attack, sexual assault, etc. are contained in Nigeria penal laws, however, the threshold of their elements differ under the Rome Statute.

During the presentation he stated that ‘’of course, the terrorists’ attacks, abduction and sexual slavery, pillaging, murder, attack of civilian population, enforced disappearances, torture all constitute crime against humanity and war crimes.’’ He emphasised this affirmation by pointing out that her 2017 Activity Report published on 4 December 2017, the ICC’s Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda stated she had facts to believe that Boko Haram, and in few cases, military operators, have committed crimes against humanity but the ICC had yet to take steps because the Nigerian government have taken steps to investigate.

He also stated that the violent attack by herdsmen constitute international crime. He however, noted that the 2017 report of the ICC’s Prosecutor, like her 2015 and 2016 reports, were silent on the issue of violent attacks by herdsmen in the middle belt area, as well as other locations across the country.

He concluded the presentation stating that there is a need for the Nigerian Bar Association, at national and branch levels, to take interest with the international crimes regime and framework for accountability for atrocity crimes in Nigeria. He further stated that in particular, the NBA should collaborate with relevant Civil Society Organisations and international partners to increase the potential for improving the regime of international crimes in the country.

International Criminal Court President Visits Nigeria, Silent on Rome Statute

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The President of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Chile Eboe-Osuji, concluded his official visit to Nigeria last week, has called for the federal government’s support to fight against impunity “for the gravest crimes.” He commended Nigeria for remaining consistent in supporting the ICC and contributing to efforts geared at establishing an international community where peace and justice reign.

However, he was silent on the domestication of the Rome Statute. Nigeria signed the Rome Statute on 1 June 2000. The bill for an Act to provide for the Enforcement and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity, War crimes, Genocides and Related offences was then proposed in 2003, which when passed by the Nigerian Legislature, would give effect to certain provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Nigeria .The first time the bill was proposed in 2003, it did not move beyond the legislature. The second time, the bill was passed by both Chambers of the Legislature and presented in 2006 to President Olusegun Obasanjo who did not sign it before the expiration of his tenure in 2007 citing certain objectionable clauses. The bill was read again for the third time in the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 and in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 18, 2012. In 2016, a private member of the House of Representatives, Hon Nicholas Ossai, sponsored the bill and it has passed the second reading at the House of Representatives.

According to a statement made available to THISDAY by the ICC, Eboe-Osuji, who was in Nigeria from April 10 to 13, met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, and other senior government officials.

“The ICC president expressed gratitude for Nigeria’s strong commitment to the court, which was reaffirmed by the senior authorities during the meetings held. President Eboe-Osuji underlined that the active support of States is crucial in re-energising the mission of the ICC, of which Nigeria is a founding and important member. He recalled that victims are at the heart of the Court’s mandate, which aims to provide justice to those who have suffered the worst atrocities, as well as protect populations from future crimes.

“President Eboe-Osuji further emphasised that the Court is keen to work together with states in Africa to bolster the fight against impunity for the gravest international crimes, and he hoped to count on Nigeria’s support in taking that process forward”

NEWSLETTER FOR 9TH -13TH APRIL 2018

 

HELLO,
Welcome to another edition LEDAP Nigeria’s Weekly Newsletter which keeps you up to date on the latest Human Rights News and updates in the law, What we are up to and Upcoming Events.
9th – 13th April 2018

“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
John F. Kennedy

NEWS   

Over 2000 Nigerians Killed In Farmers-Herdsmen Clashes Across Nigeria
A nongovernmental organization, the Coalition on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights in Nigeria said over 2000 lives have been lost to violent activities and clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country. 
 Read more

The American Ordeal of the Boko Haram Schoolgirls

Having escaped to the U.S. after the 2014 mass kidnapping, a group of Nigerian students found themselves trapped all over again.  Read more

Oba Of Benin Urges Nigeria & EU Collaboration To Halt Human Trafficking & Illegal Migration
The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II has appealed to the Nigerian government to harness the numerous human and natural resources in the country for the benefit of its citizens. He made this appeal while receiving the European Union parliament subcommittee, on human rights at his palace, in Benin City, Edo State, South South Nigeria. Read more

NHRC Moves to Curb Abuses in IDPs’ Camps

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has commenced training of human monitors to curb increasing abuses in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the North-EastRead more

EU Launches N4.3 Billion Projects Support in Niger Delta

The European Union (EU) on Wednesday inaugurated 956,000 euros (about N4.3 billion) projects in support of Person With Albinisms (PWAs), provision of water and sanitation management in the Niger Delta. Read more

Amnesty International Releases Death Penalty Facts and Figures for 2017
Amnesty International Death Penalty facts and figures 2017 revealed that in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria imposed the highest number of death sentences and had the highest number of people under death sentence in the region at the end of the year. Read the full report here

Government still Failing Victims of Boko Haram Four years on from Chibok
“What happened in Chibok should have served as a wake-up call to the Nigerian government. Yet four years on, thousands more women and girls have been taken from their homes and forced to live in captivity, in events largely unnoticed and unreported by media.” – Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria on the commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok. Read more

 

Freedom Of Information Act Applicable To All State In Nigeria, Appeal Court Rules
Nigerian states have no powers to reject requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI), the Court of Appeal has ruled. In a March 27 decision at the Akure Division, the Court of Appeal ruled that the requests for information, especially around public expenditure, under the FoI, are made in public interest and should be honored by all states. Read more

NHRC Charges Law Enforcement Personnel On Implementation Of Anti-Torture ACT 2017

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has charged the law enforcement personnel and other stakeholders not to support any process that will encourage torture but rather promote the implementation of the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act 2017. Read more

 

Nigerian CSOs ask Buhari to Intervene in Crackdown on Civil Society Leaders in Niger Republic
Some civil society groups in Nigeria have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and end alleged harassment of civil society leaders in Niger Republic.
Read more

AGF Highlights ‘Formidable Challenges’ in FOI Implementation, Says 90% of Public Institutions Violate Reporting Obligations

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) has highlighted “formidable challenges” in the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, observing that up to 90 per cent of public institutions do not comply with their annual reporting obligations under the Law. Read more

Reverse illegal increases in fees or face legal action, SERAP warns UI, AAUA
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the authorities of the University of Ibadan and Adekunle Ajasin University to “immediately reverse the patently illegal increases in fees…” Read more

Amnesty International urges Nigerian Government to Issue Moratorium against Executions

Amnesty International has called on the Nigerian government to issue a legally binding official moratorium against executions as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty in the country. Read more

 

OPINION 


Let’s End this Competition of Misery

“What is the world’s worst crisis? Yemen? Syria? The Democratic Republic of Congo? South Sudan?That question may not be any easier to answer even if there are accompanying descriptors: the worst famine since the Second World War;  the worst refugee crisis since Rwanda; the worst humanitarian crisis in 50 years.”  Read more

Hate Speech and Right to Freedom of Expression

“What would qualify as hate speech is any form of communication that expresses hatred and attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability or gender.” Read more

 

LEDAP@WORK 



Participation in NBA’s Criminal Justice Confab

LEDAP will participate in the Nigerian Bar Association’s  Criminal Justice Confab holding on the 25th-26th of April. LEDAP’s lead counsel Chino Obiagwu, who is also the alternate chair of the NBA Human Rights Institute, will be speaking on the Administration of Criminal Justice Law and state level lessons at the forthcoming high level conference on criminal justice reform. To register and find out more, click here.

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Criminal Justice Reform Committee Unveils Plan to Honour Leading Jurists
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Criminal Justice Reform Committee has unveiled plans to honour leading jurists and other stakeholders who have distinguished themselves in promoting criminal justice reform in the country. Those to receive the award include LEDAP’s lead counsel, Mr.Chino Obiagwu. Read more

LEDAP, National Judicial Institute, and AfricaLii commence Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii)
Nigeria Legal Information Institute(NigeriaLii) is aimed at bringing legal materials, all laws and case decisions in Nigeria free of charge to the public. The official launch is coming up soon but the NigeriaLii portal currently contains several thousands of case decisions, statutes, rules of court, and other legal materials. Visit the NigeriaLii website here

 

LEDAP at the 3rd Regional Congress Against the Death Penalty

LEDAP’s lead counsel, Chino Obiagwu – left
LEDAP’s lead counsel, Mr.Chino Obiagwu was in attendance at the 3rd Regional Congress against the death penalty held in Ivory Coast. He spoke on a panel concerning Africans on death row in foreign countries.

LEDAP Launches Torture Project in Partnership with UNDEF
LEDAP has launched its  Torture Prevention Project Targeting Police – In partnership with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the National Committee against Torture, LEDAP is getting set to launch a project to tackle torture and ill treatment in policing. The project will be located Lagos, Adamawa and Yobe States, as well as at the Federal Capital Territory. For more information and the call for expression on interest for the consultancies, reach out to info@ledapnigeria.org or pamela@ledapnigeria.org

Two Day Consultative Stakeholder Meeting on Strengthening the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice

LEDAP’s lead counsel, Chino Obiagwu – 3rd right

The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) in partnership with TrustAfrica held a two day consultative meeting with stakeholders on “Strengthening the ECOWAS Court of Justice and Enhancing Access to Justice in the West Africa Sub-Region” The event held from the 11th to the 12th of April 2018 at Rockview Hotels, Abuja. LEDAP’S lead counsel, Mr. Chino Obiagwu who is also the Chair, Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court(NCICC), convened the meeting.

 

PeepIntoTheLaw   


“Exploring The ADR And Non-Litigatory Jurisdictions Of The Ecowas Court Of Justice” By Emeka J.P. Obegolu

 A Paper presented at the 2-day Consultative Meeting of ECOWAS Court of Justice by Emeka J.P. Obegolu examines the types of processes that supranational bodies, with particular reference to ECOWAS Court, currently employ, and should employ in the future, to determine the compatibility of a particular dispute resolution process with the right of access to justice. Read the full paper here

 

Police officer Sentenced to Death by Hanging in Nasarawa
The High Court in Lafia, Nasarawa State, presided over by Justice James Abundega, yesterday, sentenced a Police officer, Sergeant Vincent Manu, to death for unlawfully shooting and killing a businessman, Stephen Anakwe, after labeling him as an armed robber.
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EVENTS  


Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

This week the UK will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) where leaders will gather in London and Windsor to address the shared global challenges we face and agree actions on how to create a better future for all. This year’s theme is ‘Towards a Common Future’, it will hold from the 16th to 20th April 2018. Follow the event here

Open Society offers Grants [West Africa]

The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is accepting proposals to support initiatives in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Possible target areas include journalism, justice reform and the rule of law, the democratic practice and more. Proposals must promote investigative journalism and free, quality and independent media. The deadline is April 30. Find out more here

NIALS Offers Alternative Dispute Resolution, Dispute Management And Negotiation Skills Course

The Course is to expose lawyers in the private and public sector to the simple use of ADR as a means to resolving disputes other than the traditional court and administrative forums. It Provides insights into the Law and Practice of Arbitration in Nigeria and the Enforcement of Arbitral Awards, It also examines the Place of ADR in the Legal Profession and so many others. The course will hold at Ayo Ajomo Auditorium, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of Lagos Akoka, Lagos from the 2nd – 4th May, 2018. Read more here

 

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