148/96 : Constitutional Rights Project / Nigeria Summary of Facts 1. The communication concerns 11 soldiers of the Nigerian army: WO1 Samson Elo, WO2 Jomu James, Ex. WO2 David Umukoro, Sat. Gartue Ortoo, LCPI Pullen Blacky, Ex LCPI Lucky Iviero, PVT Fakolade Taiwo, PVT Adelabi Ojejide, PVT Chris Miebi, Ex PVT Otem Anang, and WO2 Austin Ogbeowe. They were arrested in April 1990 on suspicion of being part of a coup plot and were tried twice, once in 1990, and once in 1991. They were found innocent on both occasions but still have not st been freed. On 31 October 1991, the then-Armed Forces Ruling Council granted them state pardon. However, they continue to be held at Kirikiri Prison under terrible conditions. The complaint argues that there are no further domestic remedies available, since the jurisdiction of the courts over the matter has now been ousted by military decree. Complaint 2. The communication alleges a violation of Article 6 of the Charter. Procedure nd 3. The communication is dated 22 August 1995 and was received at the Secretariat on th 18 September 1995. th 4. The Commission declared the communication admissible at the 20 session held in Grand Bay, Mauritius, and decided that the planned mission to Nigeria should take it up with the relevant th th authorities. The mission was undertaken between 7 and 14 March 1997 and the report was submitted to the Commission. 5. The parties were kept informed of all the procedures. Law Admissibility 6. Article 56 of the Charter reads: "Communications... shall be considered if they: … Article 56(5) Are sent after exhausting local remedies, if any, unless it is obvious that this procedure is unduly prolonged." 7. This is just one of the seven conditions specified by Article 56, but it is the one that usually requires the most attention. Because Article 56 is necessarily the first considered by the Commission, before any substantive consideration of communications, it has already been the subject of substantial interpretation; in the jurisprudence of the African Commission, there are several important precedents. 8. Specifically, in the four decisions the Commission has already taken concerning Nigeria, Article 56(5) is analysed in terms of the Nigerian context. Communication 60/91 (Decision ACHPR/60/91) concerned the Robbery and Firearms Tribunal;Communication 87/93 (Decision ACHPR/87/93) concerned the Civil Disturbances Tribunal; Communication 101/93 (Decision ACHPR/101/93) concerned the Legal Practitioners Decree; and Communication 129/94 (ACHPR/129/94) concerned the Constitution (Modification and Suspension) Decree and the Political Parties (Dissolution) Decree. 9. All of the Decrees in question in the above communications contain "ouster" clauses. In the case of the special tribunals, these clauses prevent the ordinary courts from taking up cases placed before the special tribunals or from entertaining any appeals from the decisions of the special 1 2 tribunals.(ACHPR/60/91:23[sic] and ACHPR/87/93:22 [sic] ). The Legal Practitioners Decree specifies that it may not be challenged in the courts and that anyone attempting to do so commits a crime (ACHPR/101/93:14 and 15). The Constitution (Modification and Suspension) Decree prohibited their challenge in the Nigerian Courts ACHPR/129/94:14 and 15).