Strengthening justice and accountability for international crimes in Nigeria

Elise Carreau Video

For over a decade, Nigeria has been faced with a violent conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian armed forces. Civilians have been caught in the middle, facing displacement, violence and atrocities. Justice for international crimes is not easy to achieve in times of active conflict.

Since 2017, Wayamo has been organising capacity-building workshops for civilian and military investigators and prosecutors to address alleged atrocities committed by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military, as articulated by the International Criminal Court. Wayamo is helping to ensure that genuine investigations and prosecutions are led by Nigeria, and implemented in Nigeria. In doing so, Wayamo is breathing life into the principle of complementarity.

Promising steps have been taken. In 2016, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice established the Complex Casework Group (the CCG). The CCG is composed of 26 prosecutors purpose-trained to address terrorism crimes under Nigerian criminal law. The first trials to prosecute Boko Haram suspects in Nigeria were held in 2017 and 2018. Despite remaining challenges, there are several indicators that show that our training has helped improve the way in which charges are formulated and will be brought in future trials.

In 2021, the Nigerian military appointed 21 investigators and prosecutors to be part of the Serious Crimes Response Team. The new team is to be trained by Wayamo to address alleged crimes committed by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

In 2021, Wayamo launched its most recent project, the creation of an electronic case-file database within the Complex Casework Group. The digital case-management system will serve as a repository for terrorism files and their corresponding judgements. It will also enable prosecutors to build more complex cases and address international crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Over the past 5 years, Wayamo has helped prosecutors to address ICC criminality in their charges; trained military officers in international humanitarian law and human rights compliance; and organised meetings between Nigerian government actors and the ICC.

Efforts to achieve justice and accountability for international crimes in Nigeria are at a crossroads. Expectations remain high for the commencement of the next set of terrorism trials and for initiatives by the Armed Forces to address allegations of human rights violations. There is a window of opportunity to address atrocities committed in Nigeria. With our partners on the ground, we at Wayamo are taking advantage of this to deliver meaningful justice.

Click here for more information about Wayamo’s activities in Nigeria. 

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