Strengthening Justice and Accountability in Nigeria: Capacity building for prosecutors to address the most serious and complex crimes under Nigerian criminal law
Wednesday 15 March 2017 saw the close of the Wayamo Foundation’s second capacity-building workshop aimed at helping Nigerian prosecutors address the most serious and complex crimes under Nigerian criminal law. This forms part of a larger, ongoing programme to strengthen justice and accountability in Nigeria, which is being implemented by Wayamo, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability in collaboration with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice.
Judging by the reactions of the participants and trainers alike, the workshop was a resounding success, with a hands-on, interactive, practice-oriented approach that allowed for some extremely lively and instructive discussion, further insight into the international dimensions of the work involved, and ample space for a series of challenging exercises, purpose-designed to hone their prosecution skills and test their ability to work in teams on real case scenarios.
The 19 prosecutors travelled down from Abuja to Lagos to attend the intensive three-day course given by a quartet of leading legal practitioners, thoroughly conversant with the day-to-day problems of prosecution, ranging from the legal, strategic and practical to the purely ethical. These included:
- Claus Molitor, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
- Alex Whiting Professor, Harvard Law School
- Adejoké Babington Ashaye, International law specialist and former ICC investigator
- Chino Obiagwu, National Co-ordinator of the Legal Defence & Assistance Project.
The course highlighted the motivation, determination and engagement of the participants. Indeed, the trainers were unstinting in their praise.
Ms. Babington Ashaye was “in awe of their dedication and commitment”, Prof. Whiting expressed his “admiration” in view of he sometimes difficult conditions under which they worked, and Mr. Obiagwu confessed that he “didn’t know where they got the courage from”.
For their part, the prosecutors described the programme, which had kicked off in December 2016, as “superb and wonderful”. Expressing their sincere gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, they sounded a reminder that within the next 10 years, those attending the course would inevitably be the country’s decision makers. The organisers “would not regret their investment!”