20 December 2016 - Nigeria is taking an important step in its fight against terrorism by working to further strengthen its strategy to prosecute, reintegrate, and rehabilitate former members of Boko Haram in compliance with international laws and standards. In this context, technical and high level consultations were held in Abuja from 13 to 15 December, on 'Considering Approaches to Prosecuting, Reintegrating and Rehabilitating Former Members of Boko Haram'.
In response to a request by the Nigerian Office of the National Security Advisor, these consultations were organized by UNODC and the Security Council's Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and supported by the European Union.
The consultations brought together experts from other countries which have faced similar challenges, including Algeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, and aimed to share lessons learned and good practices in this field. Joining them were also experts from relevant international organizations, who discussed good practices and applicable human rights and humanitarian laws, norms and standards at the international level. Nigerian officials for their part highlighted the progress achieved and challenges remaining in implementing a criminal justice-based approach to the prosecution, reintegration, and rehabilitation of former members of Boko Haram.
The consultations benefited from the participation of 31 Nigerian entities, including officials of the six most affected Nigerian states, and 14 international organizations and other national governments.
As a result of the consultations, Nigeria identified the need to further clarify its goals for a successful criminal justice framework as part of an overall reintegration and rehabilitation approach, including developing a effective prosecution strategy and robust criteria for pursuing alternative rehabilitation and reintegration approaches. Nigeria also began to consider what further support and assistance may be required to allow Nigeria to continue strengthening its strategy to prosecute, reintegrate, and rehabilitate former members of Boko Haram.
UNODC and CTED organized this activity as part of the on-going EU-Nigeria-UNODC-CTED partnership project supported by the European Union. The project seeks to support Nigeria to bring terrorists to justice and to prevent terrorist acts, through human rights-compliant criminal justice measures against terrorism. It focuses on strengthening the capacity of Nigerian criminal justice officials to effectively investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate terrorism cases, in accordance with the rule of law and human rights. This includes providing in-depth training courses for select groups of criminal justice officials and on-going advisory services for the trained officials, with the aim of supporting the transition from confession-based to evidence-based prosecution of terrorism cases.
Launched in May 2016, the project has already delivered 19 capacity building activities. This includes in-depth training courses for 20 legal advisors from the Nigerian investigative agencies, 30 Nigerian Police Force counter-terrorism investigators, and two select groups of 20 criminal justice officials on international cooperation and counter-financing of terrorism. The project is also delivering an intensive train-the-trainers course for 30 criminal justice officials on human rights and criminal justice responses to terrorism, using tailored training modules developed in 2015 in partnership with the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies