Nigeria And The Fight Against Impunity
1.7 Conclusion and recommendations
The current stance of the present administration of Nigeria on the fight against impunity is commendable. However, more needs to be done by the government to translate the commitment into a reality. Nigeria’s population size and political clout in Africa stands it out both in the continent and the world at large as an important case study. It is submitted that an effective advocacy in Nigeria to ensure an end to impunity for international crimes will have far-reaching effects in other African countries struggling with conflicts and mass violence. The study reiterates the need for Nigeria to hold their citizens accountable for international crimes. This is because the ICC is a court of last resort and can only try very few people. If a state party to the Rome Statute like Nigeria is not able to hold their citizens accountable, it will result in impunity gap that will erase any success recorded by the ICC. Furthermore, Nigeria needs to balance the fight against Islamic militancy with the need to protect the rights of citizens including defendants. This is because innocent citizens of Nigeria currently bear the brunt of the Islamic militancy and human rights abuses committed by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces. It is therefore important to remind the government of Nigeria her obligation to hold accountable those who commit international crimes whether they are Islamic militants or government security forces. For an effective implementation process to be carried out in Nigeria in relation to the domestication of the Rome Statute, the following interim recommendations are made to the different stakeholders involved:
1.7.1 The Ministry of Justice
- a)Ministry of Justice (MOJ) should produce a list of domestic implementation bills of international treaties ratified by Nigeria and submitted to the National Assembly and their current status.
- b)The MOJ should establish an inter-ministerial committee on the domestic implementation of the Rome Statute in Nigeria.
- c)The MOJ should consult implementing legislations passed by other countries especially African governments for best practices in the continent and beyond. However, such a process should take into consideration cultural diversity and legal pluralism existing in Nigeria.
- d)The MOJ should monitor the progress of the ICC Bill in the National Assembly and participate in the public hearings to make clarifications when necessary.
- e)The MOJ should collaborate with MFA to write and submit a memo to the Federal Executive Council on the need for the accession of the APIC by Nigeria.
1.7.2 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- a)The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) should publish a list of all international treaties ratified by Nigeria from independence till 2013 including the status of their domestic implementation.
- b)The MFA should have a monthly publication of international treaties ratified by Nigeria and relevant ministries responsible for implementation.
- c)The MFA should participate in the inter-ministerial committee to be set-up by the MOJ on the domestic implementation of the Rome Statute.
- d)The MFA should participate in the public hearing and stakeholders meetings to be organised by NGOs and the National Assembly in relation to the domestic implementation of the Rome Statute.
- e)The MFA should also ensure that Nigeria complies with her treaty obligations regarding the Rome Statute of the ICC and highlight the need for the government to cooperate with the Court in its investigations in Africa
1.7.3 The National Assembly
- a)The National Assembly should publish a list of all international treaties passed into law and the status of those currently pending before it.
- b)Should organise public hearings and stakeholders meeting to solicit for inputs from Nigerians on international treaties currently under consideration by the National Assembly especially the ICC Bill currently before it.
- c)The National Assembly should make public the relevant committees that deal with international treaties and those that have oversight functions regarding government agencies that implement the treaties.
- d)There should be a database of all international treaties passed into law by the National Assembly and the relevant agencies responsible for implementation.
1.7.4 The National Human Rights Commission
- a)The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should collaborate with MOJ and MFA to publicise international instruments ratified and implemented by Nigeria since 1960 till date.
- b)The NHRC should participate in the inter-ministerial committee to be established by the MOJ on the domestic implementation of the Rome Statute.
- c)The NHRC should embark on public enlightenment campaigns on the Rome Statute and its potentials to overhaul the Nigerian criminal justice system.
- d)The NHRC should partner with NGOs and CSOs to publish a report card on the ratification and domestic implementation of international treaties in Nigeria from 1960 to 2013.
1.7.5 The Nigerian Police Force
- a)The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) should collaborate with NGOs and CSOs in the stakeholders’ workshops and seminars aimed at enlightening its officers and men on the role of law enforcement officers under the Rome Statute criminal justice system.
- b)The NPF should participate in the inter-ministerial committee to be set-up by the MOJ on the domestic implementation of the Rome Statute.
- c)The NPF should also train their officers involved in peacekeeping missions on the principles of international humanitarian law and the role of the NPF.
- d)The NPF should collaborate with NGOs and CSOs to distribute abridged or simplified copies of the Rome Statute to its members.
- e)The Nigerian Police Force should ensure the arrest and surrender of any suspect indicted by the ICC that opts to visit Nigeria in violation of her treaty obligations before the ICC.
1.7.6 The Nigerian Armed Forces
- a) The Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF) should embark on workshops and seminars to educate its officers and men on the provisions of the Rome Statute and its application in the military.
- b) Members of the NAF sent on peacekeeping missions should be informed of the principles of international humanitarian law and the rules of engagement.
- c) Officers and men of the NAF should participate in the inter-ministerial committee to be set-up by the MOJ on the domestic implementation of the Rome Statute.
1.7.7 Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations
- a)There should be a coordination of the roles of NGOs and CSOs in Nigeria on the domestic implementation of the ICC Bill currently before the National Assembly and the accession of APIC by the Federal Executive Council.
- b)NGOs and CSOs in Nigeria should collaborate with the relevant committees in the National Assembly to organise public hearings on the ICC Bill.
- c)NGOs and CSOs should advocate for the removal of the immunity clause in the Nigerian Constitution to ensure that state officials who commit international crimes are not protected by the constitution.
- d)NGOs and CSOs should produce copies of the ICC Bill currently before the National Assembly for circulation to different stakeholders for inputs and comments. This is to ensure that the process of the domestic implementation of the Rome Statute in Nigeria is free, open and inclusive.
- e)NGOs should be supported to serialise the contents of the ICC Bill in major Nigeria newspapers.
- f)NGOs and CSOs should be supported to use social media to galvanise support for the passage of the ICC Bill and popularization of its contents to a wider audience in Nigeria through developing downloadable applications when the bill is passed into law.