Strengthening the criminal justice response to terrorism and violent extremism
On 21 October the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, working in close partnership with the European Union Delegation and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, NIALS, launched a User’s Guide to the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011, TPA as amended by the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013, TPAA for use by law enforcement, security and judicial officials in their work to counter terrorism in Nigeria.
The materials assembled by UN and Nigerian experts for the User’s Guide are designed to serve as a quick and practical reference work for investigators, prosecutors, public defenders and judges working in this complex field.
The Guide sets out clearly the elements of each offence and the evidential standards that must be met to successfully secure a conviction under the provisions of the Act. It also explains in detail all of the ancillary powers set out in the Act.
Within the context of the EU-Nigeria-UNODC-CTED Partnership Project to Assist Nigeria to Strengthen Rule of Law-based Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism and Violent Extremism, UNODC has been actively supporting the work of the Complex Case Group of the Federal Ministry of Justice to help prosecutors prepare cases against suspected members of Boko Haram currently held in custody that can be presented before the Federal High Court.
It has also been working with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, LACON to ensure that these defendants have opportunity to mount a proper defence, and with the judges of the Federal High Court who will adjudicate these cases.
Promoting further legal education is an important aspect of this support.
Cécile Tassin-Pelzer, Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, commented: “The criminal justice system in Nigeria has made great strides in the past few years in bringing suspected members of terrorist organizations to justice, but there is always room for improvement in this most challenging of arenas.
“It is our earnest hope that the User’s Guide will greatly assist criminal justice professionals as they prepare their cases for court, and thus help to advance the swift and effective administration of justice for victims of terrorism.”
Professor M. T. Ladan, Ph.D., Director General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies added: “The risks and threats posed by terrorist activities require the adoption of proactive, integrated, multisectoral and multidimensional approaches to effectively combat it. It is, therefore, imperative for prosecutors, investigators and the Courts to understand and familiarise themselves with the provisions of the TPA, as amended.”
Mr. Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, welcomed the launch of the User’s Guide: “UNODC has been partnering with the European Union for almost ten years now to support the Nigerian’s government’s efforts to hold terrorists to account for their crimes, and the publication of this User’s Guide is just one more in a series of initiatives to support that goal. We hope that the Guide we are launching today will help in the administration of swift and effective justice in this most critical of public arenas.”