Friday, May 6, 2016

Military justice journalism -- a key missing piece of information

On Monday the Nigerian Army will begin a special court-martial for two major generals. That much we know from this Premium Times article. It's of course nice to know who the accused, convening authority, president and judge advocate are and when the trial will begin, but perhaps the reporter might have been able to pry out of someone what the charges are.

Another report names yet other participants in the trial, but usefully points out that defense counsel have objected on the ground that their clients have not even been served with the charge sheet:
Speaking shortly after members of the special court were inaugurated, defence counsel, Navy Capt. [Chris] Anushiem, drew the attention of the President of the court, AVM [Air Vice Marshal James] Gbum, to the fact that his two clients, Major General [Ibrahim] Sani and himself had not been served with copies of the charge sheet spelling out the offences committed, list of evidence or list of witnesses which could lead to an ambush when General Sani's case begin.

He then requested the president of the court to direct the prosecution to provide the defence counsel of both accused the convening order, accompanied with the charge sheet, list of witnesses and list of evidence to enable them prepare adequately for their defence.
Seems like a reasonable request.

None of the members of the court-martial are from the Army.

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