The Nigerian government has been urged to domesticate some of the prosecution processes of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the handling of civil and criminal cases by prosecutors both in public and military judicial institutions.
This is coming as Federal Government disclosed its intention to commence trial of Boko Haram suspects in custody with established cases of terrorism at Kianji, Niger State.
The Director, Wayamo Foundation, Mrs. Bettina Ambach, made this call on Thursday the three-day capacity building programme for the military and Civil prosecutors in Abuja tagged: “Strengthening Justice and Accountability in Nigeria”.
The Programme was organised by Wayamo Foundation, Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) and International Nuremberg Principles Academy.
Ambach said this is necessary because the country has not yet domesticated the ICC best practice.
She noted that the training is aimed at strengthening justice and accountability in Nigeria by ensuring the prosecutors acquire necessary knowledge they need in dealing with crime in line with best practices across the world.
According to her, the objective “is to build capacity to address the most serious and complex crimes under Nigerian criminal law (international, transnational and terrorism-related crimes), including those crimes that potentially fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC)”.
She said that Nigerian judicial system needs more dedicated investigators and prosecutors on both civil and criminal matters.
Meanwhile, the government of Nigeria will soon commence trial of Boko Haram terrorist suspects at facilities located Kianji, Niger State, North Central of the country.
This was disclosed by Director of Prosecutions for the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Muhammed Umar, at the training programme aimed to address the most serious crimes under Nigerian criminal law.
Umar who was represented by Mr. Yusuf Ibrahim, said that those to be tried are suspects with established primacy cases, while the decision is yet to be taken on those without any confirmed evidence. He, however, assured that the Federal Government will take a stand on what to do very soon.
He said: This is a very important programme. My happiness is that we have our colleagues in uniform… since we have officers in our midst they will help us because while we only depend on the powers of investigation, they have the power to arrests and in custody.
“Luckily, Federal Government have begun the trial of those in custody with terror-related cases in Kainji. Those with established premacie cases their trials will commence but for those without any evidence established against them yet, Federal Government will soon take a decision against them.”
The Director of Justice commended the organizers for assisting in building the capacity of Nigerian legal officers by equipping them with conventional international skills.
He said the training will widen the horizon of prosecutors (both civil and military) and that this will help in drastically reducing crimes in the Nigerian society.
According to him, participants at the previous training were taught the need to rely on information available on files of various crimes, go through them, do an evaluation before filing charges in court.
In the same vein, the Director Legal Services, Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Yusuf Shalangwa, said the military has taken the necessary legal procedures to gather enough evidence against the terrorist suspects.
“The military is at the forefront of complex criminal cases and preparation of the case files against the terrorists to ensure that they have the appropriate evidence before the trial commences. There is, however, the need for continuous round the clock training for skilled manpower in this regard,” he said.
Shalangwa who underscored the importance of capacity building in any profession said, ”it is worthy to say that the law is dynamic and there is the need for continuous manpower training to ensure an effective and efficient military prosecution”.
He said that Army personnel are participating in the training not by accident, having participated in previous training, stressing that the training is sequel to the one held in June this year. He appreciated the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Buratai for approving the attendance of Army personnel for the training.
He added that the Nigerian Army Police Corp whose duty is to investigate criminal activities will further be equipped by the training in dealing with terrorist cases in the country.
Shalangwa also.commended the organizers for collaborating with the Nigerian Army and the Federal Ministry of Justice, while he assured that the Nigerian Armed Forces will continue to carry out their activities with strict compliance with the rule of law in term with international military best practices.
Topics listed for the workshop include; Synergies Between Offences under the Nigerian Criminal /Penal Code/ Military Law and those under the Rome Statute-a Comparative Analysis, Military Justice and its Challenges: Command Responsibility and Superior Orders, Complementarity-Prosecuting International Crimes in a Domestic Context and Understanding the Rights of the Accused before Civil and Military Courts.