Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Military justice training: which laws?

A yawning gap is emerging in how military justice is trained globally. While military justice is based on domestic laws that obviously vary from country to country, underlying military justice are tenets of international law that govern conduct in war and basic standards of judicial tribunals. Sources of this law include international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law. 

Countries such as the United States that are not members of the Rome Statute Some countries tend to deemphasize instruction in international criminal law. 

On the other hand are countries that have signed the Rome Statute, where training in international criminal law is the central feature of military justice instruction.

Recent military justice training in Nigeria provides a case in point about the centrality of international criminal law. The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, just presided over a specialized training session of Nigerian Army personnel on the operations of the ICC in Abuja. 

The training was organized by the Army in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. 

This training is not just a theoretical familiarization with the Rome Statute and its tenets. The ICC recently undertook at preliminary examination in Nigeria that concluded in December 2020. Nigeria underwent a process called "positive complementarity" in which it modified its domestic laws and legal procedures, including those related to military justice, to help Nigeria better conform with its Rome Statute obligations. 

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