WHAT IS EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING?
In order to fully understand the term Extrajudicial Killing one must breakdown this term and address it separately and collectively.
Extrajudicial means “That which is done, given, or effected outside the course of regular judicial proceedings. Not founded upon, or unconnected with, the action of a court of law.1 It is basically any act which is carried out beyond the course of legal proceedings”.
Killing in respect to this topic can be seen as to “Cause the death of (a person, animal, or other living thing)”. It can also be seen as action which seeks to “to deprive of life in any manner; cause the death of; slay.” 2
Synonyms of the word ‘killing’ include slaughter, massacre, butcher; hang, electrocute, behead, guillotine, strangle, garrotte; assassinate.
Hence, based on the definitions above, extrajudicial killing can be defined as any form of killing done outside the due process of the law i.e. any for, of arbitrary killings.
In the context of which this project is heading, an extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are mostly seen by humanity to be unethical, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur.3
Torture has been widespread in Nigeria for as far back as 1985-1999 when military rule was prevalent; the main perpetrator’s being the Nigerian police, armed forces and so on. The police were known to use torture as an instrument for criminal investigations and extracting confessions from suspects, without regards to the provisions of section 28 of the evidence act 2011, which renders inadmissible any confessions made by an accused person if it was induced by any threat against the accused by any person in authority.
Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment which is considered to be the legal definition of torture defines it as follows;
“Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is a suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions”
Torture is deliberate ill-treatment of a human being which leads to very serious suffering. Torture may be mental or physical or a combination of the two. Definitions often exclude any suffering caused by the execution of a lawful punishment or sanction. Of course, any punishment which in itself amounted to torture is unlikely to be lawful.
Treatment need not be in an organized form or include particular techniques to amount to torture. For example, if police were to beat up a prisoner in custody this could constitute torture.4
No individual should undergo torture no matter the circumstance. The world today is used to resorting to torture in order to find out the truth about certain situations. However, two wrongs do not make a right. Every individual should be treated with respect irrespective of whether or not he acted accordingly.
DEFINING OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT
Inhuman treatment may be similar to, but less severe than, torture and it may also be physical or mental in nature. It could relate to a physical attack on an individual or the conditions in which they are held. It may also include the immediate threat of torture. 5
In no circumstance should any individual be allowed to go through such an ordeal. The fact that we are human beings means we are higher than other animals and hence should be treated with respect.
DEFINING THE POLICE FORCE
THE ROLE, FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF POLICE IN NIGERIA
ORIGIN OF POLICE BRUTALITY IN NIGERIA
1 http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Extrajudicial accessed on 1.10.2018 at 12;27am
2 http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Extrajudicial accessed on 1.10.2018 at 12;27am
3 http://www.freebase.com/m/03h5ksn accessed on 1.10.2018 at 12:45 am
4 http://www.abouthumanrights.co.uk/right-life.html accessed on 1.10.2018 at 1;09 am
5 http://www.abouthumanrights.co.uk/right-life.html accessed on 1.10.2018 at 1;09 am