Paper Presentation by Olympia Bekou of the Human Rights…

  1. Concluding Remarks
  • Part 10 of the Rome Statute obligates States to enforce orders made by the ICC as regards – among other things – sentences, fines, forfeiture orders, and reparations to victims.
  • Moreover, the funds generated through enforcement measures should be transferred to the Court, with any expenses incurred by the State deducted, of course.
  • Pursuant to article 79(2) of the Rome Statute, funds recovered through the enforcement of victim reparation orders may be transferred directly to the ICC Victims Trust Fund.
  • However, the Nigerian Bill establishes a separate, national Special Victims’ Trust Fund under Section 93for the benefit of victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.
  • This provision, although found in the commentary to the 2011 Commonwealth Model is somewhat unique. It will therefore be interesting to see how such a Trust Fund will operate in practice alongside the ICC Victims’ Trust Fund.
  • The ICC places great emphasis on victims and for the first time, at the international level, it has allowed for their participation in the trials. This is one of the key characteristics of the Rome Statute.
  • Nigeria, as a State following the common law legal tradition, has not provided for victim participation in national proceedings. This is not to be viewed as an omission, as States are not expected to change their criminal procedures to replicate the Rome Statute.
  • It is for this reason that the national Special Victims’ Trust Fund sits uncomfortably with the rest of the Bill. Notwithstanding, it is encouraging to see that additional thought has been given to meeting the needs of the victims and, if used properly, it might pave the way for other States to follow this example.
  • Overall, the Bill is very comprehensive. It is notable, however, that the Attorney General is given a wide margin of discretion throughout the State cooperation regime and – in particular – as regards deciding whether to waive the defence of official capacity.
  • To conclude, the draft Bill by and large fully incorporates the Rome Statute into Nigerian law and it is hoped that – whatever amendments it may undergo from now on – they will not detract from its current spirit of compliance with the Rome Statute.

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