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Court gives new directive in Nigeria, all terrorism cases to be behind closed door

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In Nigeria, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared that all trials of terrorism cases in Nigeria will henceforth be held in camera.

The order, given in a statement titled “new practice directions on hearing of terrorism cases”, was given by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, who stated that “the perimeters of the court sitting over a terrorism trial shall henceforth be secured for the period of the trial for the safety of the litigants and the court officials”.

The court directive came on the eve of the expected ruling on the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu by the Nigerian government which hears today, Friday, April 8.

Thus, Kanu’s case, which is usually attended by a large number of supporters, activists, and observers will be the first casualty of this new directive.

The directory also declared that “No person shall be allowed within the secured perimeters save the approved Court officials; parties and a number of pre-registered legal practitioners on either side, witnesses; and any other person as may be directed by the Judge or the most Senior Judge in the given circumstances”

According to the Chief Information Officer of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Catherine Christopher, the “Practice Directions seek to provide measures that will ensure the security and safety of parties; personnel of law enforcement agencies and the Judiciary; as well as members of the general public; while ensuring expeditious and fair trial of persons suspected of having committed acts of terrorism.”

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Politics

Kenya’s Ruto wants global support for Haiti

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Kenya’s President William Ruto wants the United Nations Security Council to officially support the mission to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti.

Kenya, an East African powerhouse, is active in Haiti, and recently announced it was ready to be part of a multinational force. It committed to deploy 1,000 police officers to the country and  “accepted to positively consider leading a Multi-National Force to Haiti.”

Ruto, during his address, insisted that the Caribbean country “deserves better from the world.” “Kenya is ready to play its part in full, and join with a coalition of other nations of goodwill – and there are many— as a great friend and true sibling of Haiti,” Ruto said while addressing world leaders.

Haiti begged for assistance last year to fight off vicious gangs that had largely taken over the city of Port-au-Prince.

According to diplomats, the council might vote on a U.S.-drafted resolution endorsing the deployment of international police as early as next week.

U.N. peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti in 2004 after a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Peacekeeping troops left in 2017 and were replaced by U.N. police, which left in 2019.

Haiti has been without any elected representatives since January and countries across the world have been cautious about supporting the unelected administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry who has argued that fair elections cannot be held with the current insecurity.

Violent crimes, including kidnappings for ransom, armed robberies, and carjacking are prevalent in the country.

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Sudan: One country, two UNGA addresses, as armed factions stake claim

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The ongoing civil war in Sudan played out on the global scene at the United Nations General Assembly as heads of rival military factions gave competing addresses at the world meeting on Thursday.

Clashes between the army under General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s transitional government’s Sovereign Council, and army troops loyal to General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the council’s deputy leader who controls the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), have led to the destruction of facilities.

The conflict, which broke out in Khartoum in mid-April and extended to other regions of the country, including the western area of Darfur, displacing more than 5 million people and posing a threat to the region’s stability, was blamed on both sides.

Army chief, al-Burhan urged the international community to label the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) as a terrorist organisation and to take action against its financiers outside of Sudan’s borders while speaking from the stage at UN headquarters in New York.

On the other hand, RSF leader, Dagalo, known as Hemedti, in a rare video recording from an undisclosed location, said that his forces were fully prepared for a ceasefire and comprehensive political talks to end the conflict. Hemedti has primarily communicated recently through audio messages, and his whereabouts have been a subject of conjecture.

“Today we renew our commitment to the peaceful process to put a halt to this war,” Hemedti said. “The RSF are fully prepared for a ceasefire throughout Sudan to allow the passage of humanitarian aid … and to start serious and comprehensive political talks.”

Repeated declarations of a ceasefire by both the army and the RSF, as well as claims that they are looking for a resolution to the war have not been able to halt the carnage and the worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

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