Observance of Due Process Rights in Capital Offence Trials: Assessing Nigeria through the Lens of International Instruments.
Emmanuel Olugbenga Akingbehin

The trial rights of a capital offender range from arraignment to sentencing. Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, authorizes a deprivation of life, if the execution is of a sentence of court, in respect of criminal offence, for which such person has been found guilty. The Criminal Justice Administration Act and the Nigerian Constitution, inter alia make provisions for the various safeguards aimed at protecting citizen‟s rights in ensuring due process in trial procedures, including the execution of death sentences. Also, the U.N ECOSOC has encouraged UN member states, in which death penalty has not yet been abolished to ensure that a defendant facing a possible death sentence is given all guarantees to ensure a fair trial. However, this research work has found that many capital offence trials in Nigeria have fallen short of international standards of fair trial. This paper is therefore aimed at analyzing the extent of compliance or otherwise, of the various stakeholders in the Nigerian criminal justice system, with the international due process requirements, in the legal processing of a capital offender at the trial stage. The paper, which is divided into six parts, delved on the analysis of fair hearing and trial within a reasonable time in the public before a court or tribunal. The author also appraised capital offender‟s rights to presumption of innocence, adequate time and facility to prepare defence and mandatory legal representation. The author made his findings and proffered appropriate recommendations.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jlcj.v9n1a4