The Nation (Nigeria)

Nnamdi Kanu: On the principle of extraordin­ary rendition

- Opa ola Vic or E q. adeopa ola@gmail.com

SIR: INCE the leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra(ipob), Nnamdi Kanu brought back into the country, there have been arguments as to effect of such illegal mode through which he was brought back and the effect it will have on the jurisdicti­on of the court to continue his trial; stemming from the fact that he was not properly and legally extradited.

Recently, Kanu’s lawyer raised the doctrine of E raordinar Rendiion as a barrier to the jurisdicti­on of the court to continue his trial.

Rendition, in legal terms, implies the transfer of a person (fugitive) from one jurisdicti­on to another. Black’s Law Dictionary 1410 (9th ed. 2004). In the case of what is usually called “rendition,” the procedure involves the legal handing over (or back) a person to another jurisdicti­on with better rights or jurisdicti­on to try him.

Rendition is legal and within the confines of the law. Extraordin­ary rendition, on the other hand, occurs outside of the confines of the law.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed.) “Extraordin­ary rendition is the transfer, without formal charges, trial, or court approval, of a person .... to a foreign nation for imprisonme­nt and interrogat­ion on behalf of the transferri­ng nation”.

According to the European Court of Human Rights, extraordin­ary rendition is an: ‘’An extra-judicial transfer of persons from one jurisdicti­on or state to another, for the purposes of detention and interrogat­ion outside the normal legal system, where there was a real risk of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’’.

It is simply government-spon was sored abduction and extrajudic­ial transfer of a person from one country to another with the purpose of circumvent­ing the former country’s laws. The question is does extraordin­ary rendition rob the court of the jurisdicti­on to continue trial?

In the case of United States v. Alvarez-machain, on whether or not the abduction of Alvarezmac­hain from Mexico divested the district court of jurisdicti­on over respondent, the United States Supreme Court held per Chief Justice Rehnquist, writing for the majority, analyzed the continuing viability of the Ker-frisbie doctrine. In Ker v. Illinois, Ker was forcibly abducted from Peru and brought to the United States to stand trial for larceny. Ker challenged the court’s jurisdicti­on over him and argued that he had a right under the extraditio­n treaty between the United States and Peru to be returned to the United States only in accord with the terms of the treaty. The Supreme Court rejected Ker’s argument and held that “such forcible abduction is no sufficient reason why the party should not answer when brought within the jurisdicti­on of the court which has the right to try him for such an offence and presents no valid objection to his trial in such court.”

The above doctrine holds that the fact that a fugitive was brought into a court’s jurisdicti­on by means of an illegal arrest or a forcible abduction in violation of the defendant’s rights does not automatica­lly divest the court of jurisdicti­on.

Applying the above doctrine to the case of Nnamdi Kanu, the fact that he was illegally arrested, abducted, or allegedly tortured and brought into the country does not in any way rob the Federal High Court of the jurisdicti­on to continue his trial.

There is a legal doctrine Male cap bene de en : (wrongly captured, properly detained) which emphasise the fact that a person may have been wrongly or unfairly arrested, will not prejudice a rightful detention or court trial under due process. This means that the procedure or means through which you are brought to court in itself will not prejudice a lawful court process.

No argument of course will justify the unconstitu­tional breach to Mr. Kanu’s right in the way he was brought back into the country, but these in themselves will not automatica­lly divest or rob the court of its jurisdicti­on to continue his trial as suggested by his lawyer.

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