87/93 : Constitutional Rights Project (in respect of Zamani Lakwot and six others) / Nigeria Summary of Facts 1. Communication 87/93 was brought on behalf of seven men Zamani Lekwot, James Atomic Kude, Yohanna Karau Kibori, Marcus Mamman, Yahaya Duniya, Julius Sarki Zamman Dabo and Iliya Maza sentenced to death under the Civil Disturbances (Special Tribunal) Decree No. 2 of 1987 from Nigeria. This decree does not provide for any judicial appeal against the decisions of the special tribunals and prohibits the courts from reviewing any aspect of the operation of the tribunal. 2. The communication also alleges that the accused and their counsel were constantly harassed and intimidated during the trial, ultimately forcing the withdrawal of the defence counsel. Despite the lack of defence, the tribunal condemned the accused to death for culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and breach of the peace. Argument 3. The communication argues that the prohibition on judicial review of the special tribunals and lack of judicial appeals for judgments of these tribunals violates the right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts violating fundamental rights, guaranteed by Article 7 paragraph 1(a) of the African Charter. 4. The communication complains that the conduct of the trials before these tribunals, which included harassment of defence counsel, and deprivation of defence counsel, violated the right to be defended by counsel of one’s choice, guaranteed byArticle 7 paragraph 1. 5. The communication finally complains that the practice of setting up special tribunals, composed of members of the armed forces and police in addition to judges, violates the right to be tried by an impartial tribunal guaranteed by Article 7 paragraph 1(d). Law Admissibility th 6. The case was declared admissible at the 14 Session of the Commission on the following grounds: The case raises the question of whether the remedies available are of a nature that requires exhaustion. 7. The Act complained of in Communication No. 87/93 is The Civil Disturbances (Special Tribunal) Act, in which Part IV, Section 8 (1) provides: The validity of any decision, sentence, judgment, ... or order given or made, ... or any other thing whatsoever done under this Act shall not be inquired into in any court of law. 8. The Civil Disturbances Act empowers the Armed Forces Ruling Council to confirm the penalties of the Tribunal. This power is a discretionary, extraordinary remedy of a non-judicial nature. The object of the remedy is to obtain a favour and not to vindicate a right. It would be improper to insist on the Complainant seeking remedies from a source which does not operate impartially and have no obligation to decide according to legal principles. The remedy is neither adequate nor effective. 9. Therefore, the Commission is of the opinion that the remedy available is not of a nature that requires exhaustion according to Article 56 paragraph 5 of the African Charter.

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