Nigeria has identified the need to further clarify its goals for a successful criminal justice framework as part of an overall reintegration and rehabilitation approach, including developing an effective prosecution strategy and robust criteria for pursuing alternative rehabilitation and reintegration approaches.
This was done during special technical and high level consultations that were held in Abuja from December13 to 15, last year, on ‘Considering Approaches to Prosecuting, Reintegrating and Rehabilitating Former Members of Boko Haram’.
Funded by the European Union (EU), the consultations were organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in response to request from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
During the consultations, Nigerian officials highlighted the progress achieved and challenges remaining in implementing a criminal justice-based approach to the prosecution, reintegration, and rehabilitation of former members of Boko Haram.
Nigeria also began to consider what further support and assistance may be required to allow the nation to continue strengthening its strategy to prosecute, reintegrate, and rehabilitate former members of Boko Haram.
This move is important, as Nigeria is taking an important step in its fight against terrorism, by working to further refine and strengthen its strategy to prosecute, reintegrate, and rehabilitate former members of Boko Haram in compliance with international laws and standards.
The project seeks to support Nigeria’s efforts to bring terrorists to justice and to prevent terrorism acts through human rights-compliant criminal justice measures against terrorism. It focuses on strengthening the capacity of Nigerian criminal justice officials to effectively investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate terrorism cases, in accordance with the rule of law and human rights.
This includes, providing in-depth training courses for select groups of criminal justice officials and on-going advisory services for the trained officials, with the aim of supporting the transition from confession-based to evidence-based prosecution of terrorism cases.
The consultations brought together experts from other countries, which have faced similar challenges, including Algeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, to share lessons learnt and good practices.
Joining them were also experts from relevant international organisations, who discussed international good practices and applicable international human rights and humanitarian laws, norms and standards.
The consultations benefited from the participation of 31 Nigerian entities, including officials of the six most affected Nigerian states, and 14 international organisations and other national governments.
Launched in May 2016, the project has already delivered 19 capacity building activities. This included in-depth training courses for 20 legal advisors from the Nigerian investigative agencies, 30 Nigerian Police Force counter-terrorism investigators, and two select groups of 20 criminal justice officials on international cooperation and counter-financing of terrorism.
The project is also delivering an intensive train-the-trainers course for 30 criminal justice officials on human rights and criminal justice responses to terrorism, using tailored training modules developed in 2015 in partnership with the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies.
Meanwhile, Nigeria, UNODC, and Germany also collaborated on training for legal advisors on terrorism offences.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) partnered with the Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigerian Police Force (NPF) to deliver three in-depth training workshops for 20 Nigerian legal advisors from September to November 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria.
This training, second in the series, is built on the successfully completion of earlier five in-depth training workshops which took place in late 2015 and early 2016; jointly funded by the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union.
This second training series, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany, constituted a further important step in Nigeria’s efforts to bring terrorists to justice through rule of law-based and human rights-compliant criminal justice measures.
The training took a practical approach utilizing case studies and concrete exercises and covered good practices on issues such as written and oral advocacy in the early stages of a case, the use of special investigation techniques, the rights of the suspect upon arrest, and the application of human rights provisions.
The DSS and NPF legal advisors are responsible for guiding and advising during the investigation of criminal offences, including terrorism cases, and, thus, are instrumental in helping to bring together the evidence for a successful prosecution.
The training participants were 20 legal advisors working throughout Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. Participants appreciated the opportunity to interact and exchange experiences and challenges with experts from Nigeria itself and from UNODC, Germany, Kenya, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States, who shared their expertise, experiences and good practices.
The closing ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria, and representatives of Nigeria’s Department of State Services, the Nigeria Police Force and the UNODC.