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					Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria




Report of Consultative Meeting of the Department of International & Comparative Law of
                       the Federal Ministry of Justice of Nigeria
                                  14 – 15 March 2006
                                     Abuja, Nigeria


Introduction
The consultative meeting is the final phase in a year-long project that was undertaken jointly by
the Department of International and Comparative Law (DICL) of the Federal Ministry of Justice
(FMoJ), Alliance for Africa and the Security, Justice & Growth Program of the UK Department
for International Development. The project has included the capacity building of staff of the
FMoj and Ministries of Environment and Women’s Affairs, civil society organisations and
national human rights institutions during a workshop held from 24 – 26 May 2005 in Abuja,
Nigeria. The project also included a study visit by two senior staff of DICL to Addis Ababa from
13 – 19 December 2005 to meet with relevant personnel at the African Union Commission and
in particular to learn more about the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Objectives
The objectives of the meeting were:
    Build the capacity of the FMoJ to monitor compliance with decisions and
       recommendations of international and regional human rights mechanisms
    Design of a Unit within DICL to undertake this responsibility and developing the mandate
       of the Unit
    Assessment of the resource requirements of the DICL and other departments of the
       FMoJ to undertake this responsibility
    Constituency building with civil society organisations to support this work of the FMoJ
       and strengthening the relationship between the DICL and civil society

Presentations
The Consultative Meeting commenced with presentations by Mr Balogun on the work of the
FMoJ and in particular DICL and its relationship with other departments within FMoJ and other
Ministries.

Overview of the present functions of DICL
The International & Comparative Law Department is one of the seven operational departments
of the Federal Ministry of Justice. The department is the window through which the FMoJ is
assessed in the discharge and performance of her international legal obligations. The
department therefore has the enormous responsibility to expound the principles and norms of
international law and adequately represent Nigeria in international for a. The department strives
to ensure that the Ministry’s visible timely and effective participation in international bilateral and
sub regional activities in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Currently the remit of DICL is extremely wide and includes:
    Rendering legal advice on international issues to all Ministries, extra ministerial
       departments, government agencies and Nigeria’s overseas missions so as to engender
       cordial relations between Nigeria and other nations as well as international institutions
       and organisations;
    Serving on behalf of Nigeria at the United Nations and its organs, agencies and other
       international bodies of which Nigeria is a member;


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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



       Negotiation and vetting of international Agreement between Nigeria and other countries
        to protect Nigeria’s interest, e.g. Cultural and Education Cooperation Agreement,
        Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement, Bilateral Trade Agreement, Investment
        Promotion and Protection Agreement, Cooperation Agreement on Health, Agriculture,
        Defence, Information, Bilateral Air Service Agreement, etc;
       Preparation of instruments of ratification of Treaties, Conventions and Protocols to which
        Nigeria is signatory and initiating their domestication. In this area, the department works
        in collaboration with the Federal Government printer in printing these instruments;
       Preparation of Memo to council in respect of Treaties/Agreements for which the FMOJ is
        the focal Ministry, e.g. Extradition Treaties, Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matter,
        Judicial Cooperation Agreements, etc;
       Ensuring that all treaties entered into by Nigeria are deposited and registered in the
        Ministry in accordance with Section 4 and 5 of the treaties Making procedure decree
        1993;
       Ensuring the observance of Nigeria’ treaty obligations, e.g. preparation and collation of
        country reports for the following;
             African Commission on Human & people’s Rights
             The Implementation of the Covenant on Economic, Social And Cultural Rights
             The Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of racial
                Discrimination
             The Implementation of the Security Council Resolution concerning counter-
                terrorism
             Other reports as the need arises.

       Dealing with human rights issues on behalf of Nigerian Government under the auspices
        of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the ACHPR;
       Handling legal matters relating to Nigeria’s bilateral and multilateral cooperation with
        other countries and international organisations;
       Participating at inter ministerial and international meetings, such as the UNO General
        Assembly meetings, The Commonwealth Legal Advisory Service, The AU, ECOWAS,
        Bi-National Commission meetings, etc;
       Relating with relevant international bodies including dealing with their requests;
       Ensuring that Nigeria fulfil her financial obligations to various international bodies it
        belongs to;
       Coordinating the legal work of regional bodies such as Asian-African Legal Consultative
        Organisation;
       Responsible for the enforcement of judgements of the courts of other countries;
       Coordinating and preparation of State reports to human rights bodies (e.g. report
        submitted in November 2005 to the ACHPR.)


The challenges identified during the presentations included:
            a lack of resources (including internet connection)
            failure of other line Ministries to consult with FMoJ before the signing of bi lateral
              agreements and treaties
            lack of adequate liaison between the Presidency and FMoJ regarding the signing
              of international agreements
            lack of domestication of treaties that have been ratified
            lack of follow-up of recommendations and decisions of regional and international
              human rights bodies
            communication of information from AU is often slow in reaching DICL


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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



             there was previously a blurring of roles in regard to State Reporting and the
              Ministry of Foreign Affairs has often represented Nigeria at meetings due to a
              lack of funds for FMoJ to attend.

The staff of DICL was increased to 17 towards the end of last year, but there was no clear
division of responsibility for the different tasks of the Department.

Ahmed Motala and Chidi Odinkalu who provided an overview of the regional and international
human rights enforcement mechanisms made their presentations. The presentations identified
the different human rights forums, with which the Nigerian government was expected to
establish and maintain relations by virtue of being a member of the UN and AU and in
accordance with its obligations under international treaties. These forums include the ECOWAS
Court of Justice, the African Commission and Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR),
the Court of Justice of the African Union, UN Treaty Bodies (Human Rights Committee, CERD,
CEDAW, etc), International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Criminal Court (ICC) and UN
Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). There are ranges of functions, which DICL may be
required to perform, that are relevant to the relationships with these forums including:
         representation / litigation
         legal advice
         domestication of international treaties ratified and ensuring compatibility of existing
           domestic legislation with treaty obligations
         Contribution of personnel and supporting the recruitment of Nigerians to these
           institutions
         Enforcement and compliance with decisions/recommendations of these institutions
         Complying with state reporting obligations under the treaties
         Engaging with reform process of bodies (e.g. Commission on Human Rights being
           transformed into Human Rights Council) and the creation of new institutions (e.g.
           merger of African Human Rights Court & Court of Justice of the AU)
         Participating in the development of new human rights standards

Experience sharing by staff that travelled to Addis Ababa
Mrs Uwandu & Mr Balogun shared the experiences of their visit during December 2005 to Addis
Ababa and some of the lessons learnt from that visit. In particular, they both indicated that the
visit influenced them to recommend to the Director of International and Comparative Law and
the Minister of Justice the establishment of a Treaty Monitoring and Implementation Unit within
DICL. The Federal Minister of Justice accepted this recommendation and funds were made
available in the Ministry’s 2006 budget for the establishment of this unit.

Preliminary Recommendations
The final session on the first day explored strategies for effective implementation of obligations
under international human rights treaties. Several preliminary recommendations emerged
during the discussions:
     Memo by AG (drafted by DICL) to Exec. Council on procedures for signing of treaties /
        bilateral agreements & role of FMoJ. It should cite cases where things have gone wrong
        and the added value of DICL involvement.
     Develop procedures for nomination of candidates to human rights bodies, which should
        include CSOs and be transparent.
     Identify roles and responsibilities within DICL to ensure sustainability of Treaty
        Monitoring and Implementation Unit.
     Establish compliance office with responsibility to:
            o Advise on compatibility of laws with treaty to be ratified;


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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



            o Conduct audit of domestic legislation with human rights treaties ratified;
            o Monitor implementation of decisions of human rights courts / bodies.
       Take responsibility for judicial and continuing legal education on human rights treaties
        and international courts.
       Improve preparation & dissemination of State Reports and implementation of
        recommendations.
       Develop a compilation of human rights treaties, resolutions & general comments
        (interpreting treaty) & decisions of human rights bodies.
       Develop a database of human rights expertise (academics, CSO reps, practitioners).
       Track human rights vacancies, meetings, events and deliberations (DICL could then
        request further information from Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
       6 staff should man the Human Right & Implementation Unit initially. This would enable
        continuity with the work of the department should in case one or two of the staff happens
        to me moved to another department of ministry.

Mandate of the Unit
After much deliberation it was agreed that the Treaty Monitoring and Implementation Unit to be
established within DICL would be renamed the Human Rights and Treaty Monitoring and
Implementation Unit to ensure that its human rights functions were not subsumed. It was
recognised that the Unit would have responsibility for all treaties including those that did not
have any direct relevance to human rights. However, it was agreed that specific staff within the
Unit would be assigned specific responsibility to deal with the human rights responsibilities.

The human rights mandate of the Unit would include:
    Involvement in the development of international and regional human rights standards,
      and treaties for the establishment of new human rights bodies
    Coordinating the collation of information and the drafting of State Reports to human
      rights bodies
    Initiating the process for the ratification of human rights treaties and preparing the
      instrument for ratification
    Liaising with international and regional human rights bodies through the Ministry of
      Foreign Affairs
    Responding to complaints filed with human rights bodies and representing Nigeria in
      arguing cases
    Monitoring compliance with decisions of human rights bodies
    Instituting the process for domestication of human rights treaties ratified and drafting the
      necessary legislation
    Coordinating continuing judicial and legal education on human rights treaties and
      decisions of human rights bodies
    Liaising closely with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to undertake the above responsibilities
      and with other Ministries and Government agencies

Division of Responsibilities
In addition to the above Unit, it was agreed that at least three other units would be established:
            o Bilateral / Joint Commission Unit
            o UN / International Organisations Unit
            o African Union / ECOWAS Unit

The remit of the latter two Units should not overlap significantly with the Human Rights and
Treaty Monitoring and Implementation Unit. Any matter that deals substantially with human



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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



rights would fall within the mandate of the Human Rights and Treaty Monitoring and
Implementation Unit. Any other matters relating to the UN or AU would fall within the remit of
the relevant Units. The establishment of the mandate of the other Units would assist in ensuring
that there is no overlap. However, the work of the different Units is likely to be complimentary.

Priorities for the Human Rights & Treaty Monitoring & Implementation Unit for the next 2
years after its establishment
The Meeting identified key priorities for the Human Rights and Treaty Monitoring and
Implementation Unit for the next two years. The preliminary recommendations were considered
and were as far as possible incorporated into these priority areas.


No Recommendations                                        Partners                 Responsibility
1  Dealing with the backlog of reports to                 To collaborate with AfA DICL
   human rights bodies.           With the large          on how to get funds
   number of reports outstanding, it would be             and capacity building
   necessary to prioritise those reports that             training   on     report
   should be prepared first with others following         writing
   later.    It would also be necessary to
   consolidate all previous outstanding reports
   into a single report to ensure earlier
   compliance with the reporting obligations
   and to apprise the human rights body of the
   prevailing human rights situation in Nigeria.
   The Unit will encourage the involvement of
   CSOs in the preparation of reports and
   ensure that reports submitted to human
   rights bodies are made available soon
   thereafter to CSOs. It will also monitor the
   implementation of the recommendations of
   human rights bodies made pursuant to the
   consideration of State Reports.
2  Communications and complaints to                                                     DICL
   human rights bodies. Obtaining
   information from relevant agencies has been
   identified as a problem in compiling a
   response to the complaints filed with human
   rights bodies. It may be necessary to advise
   senior officials in the agencies concerned of
   the importance of responding to complaints
   and the possible serious repercussions
   should Nigeria fail to respond including
   adverse media reports, awards of monetary
   compensation (once the African Court is
   operational), political pressure from the
   organs of the AU, conditionality of foreign aid
   & the possibility of withdrawal of aid. The
   Unit should also advise relevant agencies
   regarding the advantages of reaching an
   amicable settlement with complainants



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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



     where there is clear evidence of breach of
     human rights treaties.
     The monitoring of implementation of
     decisions of human rights bodies and courts
     would fall within this area of work.

3    Ratification of Treaties & Protocols                                               DICL
     signed. The Unit will be required to prioritise
     those treaties it considers urgent for
     ratification.

4    Attend meetings of human rights bodies.                                            DICL
     The lack of financial resources has
     prevented DICL from sending
     representatives regularly to meetings of
     human rights bodies. Donors could support
     participation of DICL staff at such meetings
     but it has to be ensured that staff of the Unit
     responsible for liaison with the specific
     human rights body attends its meetings.

5    Participation in the preparation of new                                            DICL
     human rights treaties. This area of work
     would include providing advice on the
     compatibility of laws with treaties to be
     ratified.

6    Follow up on Rome Statute legislation.                                             DICL
     The Bill has gone through the legislature and
     is awaiting assent by the President. Steps to
     be taken once the legislation has come into
     effect include:
      an audit of existing legislation to
         determine compatibility with the ICC
         legislation, for example extradition laws
      a determination of legislation to be
         adopted to give effect to the ICC
         legislation      within    the     domestic
         jurisdiction,    for    example     defining
         international crimes as crimes within the
         domestic jurisdiction, and extending the
         jurisdiction of national courts for
         international crimes committed outside
         Nigeria
      Undertaking judicial and legal education
         of the police, prosecuting authority,
         judicial officers and lawyers on the remit
         of the ICC legislation and its implications
         for the police, prosecutorial and judicial
         authorities



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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria




7    Developing relationships with CSOs. The CSO                                        DICL
     Unit will endeavour to arrange twice yearly
     meetings with civil society organisations to
     share information on Nigerian Govt. relations
     with human rights bodies, for example State
     Reports being filed.
          - CSOs will assist the Unit in the
          development of a database of human
          rights expertise (academia, CSOs,
          practitioners) in Nigeria and within the
          diaspora. This database would assist in
          making         recommendations          for
          employment       of    Nigerians     within
          international and regional bodies, for
          nomination of candidates to human rights
          bodies and for assistance to the Unit and
          DICL in undertaking research, preparing
          reports and providing advice on human
          rights.
     - CSOs will also assist the Unit in tracking
     human rights vacancies and meetings,
     events and deliberations of human rights
     bodies so that the Unit may be alerted well in
     advance of such events. The Unit will also
     subscribe to electronic mailing lists that
     advise of human rights and other vacancies
     at the UN and its agencies
8    Domestication of Treaties. Nigeria has                                             DICL
     ratified a range of human rights treaties and
     the Constitution requires that legislation be
     adopted to give effect to these treaties within
     the domestic jurisdiction. The Unit will have
     to prioritise the treaties it would want to
     domesticate within the next two years and
     different criteria could be used for this. One
     criteria may be the importance of the treaty
     to improvement of the lives of Nigerians.
     Another may be the ease with which the
     legislation would pass through the
     legislature.
9    Continuing judicial and continuing legal                                           DICL
     education. The first phase of this area of
     responsibility would be to develop a
     compilation of human rights treaties ratified
     by Nigeria and general comments and
     resolutions of human rights bodies that
     interpret treaty provisions for distribution to
     judicial officials, government lawyers and
     private practitioners. Funding from donors
     could be solicited for this compilation and the


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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



     services of an academic could be engaged.
10   In addition to the above priority areas being Layout, design    & DICL
     identified for the next two years, it was printing of booklets by (responsible for
     agreed that:                                  AfA.                updating    and
         The memo presented by the Minister of                         providing
         Justice to the Executive Council on the                       information to
         procedures for signing of treaties would                      AfA)
         be printed in the form of a booklet for
         distribution to other Ministries and
         Departments, the Presidency and
         members of the legislature. This booklet
         would include information on the treaties
         ratified by Nigeria and those signed but
         not yet ratified.     It would also give
         examples of cases where things have
         gone wrong as a result of the failure to
         involve DICL at an early stage in the
         process and also explain the added
         value of involving DICL.
11       A memo would be drafted for submission CSO                    DICL
         to the Minister of Justice on the
         improvement of the procedures for the
         nomination of candidates to human rights
         bodies. It was agreed that it would be
         recommended        that   a   panel    be
         established for the purpose comprising of
         the Chief Justice, the Chairperson of the
         Nigerian Bar Association, the Director of
         International Organisations (Ministry of
         Foreign Affairs) and the Director of
         International and Comparative Law
         (FMoJ), and chaired by the Minister of
         Justice.     This panel would meet
         whenever it is necessary to consider
         nominations to human rights bodies.
         The procedures of the panel would
         include a public call for nominations, an
         encouragement to CSOs to submit
         nominations and the consideration of
         CVs of potential candidates against the
         criteria established for the post to be
         filled. The decision of the panel would
         also be publicly announced.


Challenges
The Meeting identified the following challenges to the work of DCIL and the Unit:
    The lack of Departmental Registry results in delays in accessing files and documents
      and responding to correspondence. The establishment of a Departmental Registry
      would greatly enhance the efficiency of DICL and the Unit in particular.



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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



         The lack of financial resources hampers the work of the Department, for example staff
          is unable to attend meetings of human rights bodies despite this responsibility falling
          within their remit.
          Although the staff has been increased to 17, with the increasing responsibilities being
          adopted by DICL it would become necessary to recruit additional staff in the future.
          The Department has a dearth of computers and does not have internet access.
          Broadband internet would facilitate access to resources on human rights including the
          websites of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the African
          Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Union. It is necessary for
          the Department to establish its own library/resource centre with publications on
          international human rights law. DICL should approach the Office of the High
          Commissioner for Human Rights to provide compilations of international human rights
          standards so that each lawyer in the Department has his/her own copy, in addition to
          copies being available in the library/resource centre.
         Staff Training & Development. It was recognised that continuous staff training and
          development is essential to improve the efficiency and knowledge of staff and to ensure
          that there are competent staff to fill vacancies that may arise in the Unit. Opportunities
          for training and development may range from participation in local workshops to
          internships with human rights institutions and participation at summer schools.
         Staff Mobility. The possibility of competent staff being recruited to other positions
          within Government or international organisations always provides a challenge to the
          continuity of the Unit. The training and development of junior staff in particular would
          ensure a pool of qualified individuals from which to recruit replacement staff of the Unit.
          However, the attraction and retention of competent professional staff would always be a
          challenge.
         Continuing Political Support. The medium to long-term viability of the Unit depends
          on continuing political support for the Unit. A change of Minister could easily result in
          re-prioritising and re-allocation of resources. DICL and the Unit could ensure continued
          political support by establishing its credibility and relevance with other Ministries, in
          particular MoFA and government agencies.



2-DAY CONSULTATIVE FORUM: PARTICIPANTS LIST

No Name                 Organisation    Address                   E mail
1  J. Balogun           Min of          Fed Secretariat,
                        Justice         Abuja
2       Chinwe          Ditto           Ditto
        Uwandu
3       B.S.Lawenji     Ditto           Ditto
4       S.R.Akinyede    Ditto           Ditto
5       I.E.Nzeh        Ditto           Ditto
6       Sweet           Ditto           Ditto
        Adesuwa
        Okundaye
7       B.E.Jedy-       Ditto           Ditto                     beautyjedy@hotmail.com
        Agba
8       Marc Fiedrich   European        21 Crescent Off           Marc.fiedrich@cec.eu.int
                        Union           Constitution



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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



                                        Avenue, CBD, Abuja
9    Emiola            Security,        3rd Floor, AP Plaza,      Emiola.oyefuga@sjg.britishcouncil.org
     Oyefuga           Justice &        Adetokunbo
                       Growth           Ademola Street,
                                        Wuse II, Abuja.
10   Yusuf             Min of           Fed Secretariat,
     Abubakar          Justice          Abuja
11   Danladi           European         21 Crescent Off           D_plang@yahoo.co.uk
     Plang             Union            Constitution
                                        Avenue, CBD, Abuja
12   V.C Umoren        Min of           Fed Secretariat,          Vcumoren2000@yahoo.com
     (Mrs)             Justice          Abuja
13   Anthony           Open             No 32 Amazon              Anwapa2000@gmail.com
     Nwapa             Society          street, off Alvan
                       Justice          Ikoku , Maitama-
                       Initiative       Abuja




              Consultative Meeting on FMoJ/DICL Unit on Human Rights Enforcement:
              Programme)
                                                       th
                           Day One (Tue March 14th )                        Day 2 ( Wed March 15th)
               Time
               9.00-       Welcome, & Self Introductions (AM/IO)          Review of Key points from day one
               9.30am                                                     (AM)
               9.30-              Introduction of the Work of the               Succession/Sustainability
               11.00am       FMoJ/DICL (Mrs Agbamuche)                    planning for the proposed Unit (AM &
                                  Overview of the meeting & of           CO)
                             International & Regional Human Rights               Design of ToR & Mandate for
                             Enforcement Organs (AM/CO)                   the proposed Unit (AM & CO)
                                        o ECOWAS Court
                                        o African Commission on
                                            Human & Peoples’ Rights
                                        o African Court
                                        o UN Human Rights
                                            Enforcement Mechanisms
                           General Discussions
               11.00-      Tea Break                                        Tea Break
               11.30am
               11.30-              The role of FMoJ/DICL in                      Question & Answer Sessions,
               1.00pm        promoting the efficiency of Justice &          Conclusions, etc (AM)
                             Inter departmental connections
                             (Agbamuche Mrs)                                      Departure
                                   The organisation of the African
                             Union – Experience-sharing from the
                             Addis Trip, Lessons learnt, etc (Mrs
                             Uwandu & Mr Balogun)
                                   The experience from South
                             Africa/SA experience of organising
                             interactive sessions involving CSO &
                             Ministries Officials (AM)


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Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Enforcement with Staff of Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria



                           General Discussions
               1.00-       Lunch
               2.00pm
               2.00-             Strategies for effective domestic
               3.30         implementation of international
                            mechanism (CA)
                                      o Relationship with Foreign
                                          Ministry
                                      o Nominations & election of
                                          candidates/judges
                                      o State Reporting
                                      o Compliance with decisions
                                          of international & regional
                                          courts
                                      o Domestication of treaties
                                          & protocols
                                      o Judicial education
                                      o Liaison with civil society
                           General Discussions
               3.30-       Wrap up & Homework Review (CA)
               4.00pm
                AM: Ahmed Motala
                CO: Chidi Odinkalu




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