Book Review Symposia

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Book Review Symposium Introduction: The Right to Research in Africa - Exploring the Interface between Copyright and Human Rights

The Right to Research in Africa: Exploring the Interface between Copyright and Human Rights, a book authored by Desmond Oriakhogba, was published by Springer Nature in 2023. The book examined international and regional human rights instruments to which African countries have subscribed, as well as those relevant to the African context, and the national bills of rights and constitutions in Africa with the aim of constructing an explicit right to research in Africa.

Book Review III: The Investment Treaty Regime and Public Interest Regulation in Africa By Dominic Npoanlari Dagbanja

With the recent decision by the African Heads of States to adopt the Protocol on Investment to the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, Dr Dominic Dagbanja’s monograph on The Investment Treaty Regime and Public interest in Africa is a welcome addition to the growing list of monographs on Africa’s foreign investment law regimes. This book which is a based on Dr Dagbanja’s 2015 doctoral dissertation provides an original contribution to existing literature by focusing on the constitutionality of investment treaties. It deals with themes and issues which are critical for understanding Africa’s complex foreign investment protection and promotion laws. Although scholars have examined the linkages between constitutional law and international investment law notably using case studies from Europe and Latin America, this is the first monograph to focus on this issue from an African perspective.

Book Review II: The Investment Treaty Regime and Public Interest Regulation in Africa By Dominic Npoanlari Dagbanja

In the early days of investment treaty awards, twenty or so years ago, it was obvious something was badly amiss. With virtually no legal analysis, the Metalclad tribunal found an indirect expropriation against Mexico based on the government’s refusal to authorize a landfill in a historically polluted area. A few years later, foreign asset owners busily sued Argentina for the country’s emergency measures, adopted in the face of a national economic crisis; the arbitrators were unsympathetic to the Argentine lawyers’ argument that it was ‘necessary’ for the country’s government to override the stipulated water rates in contracts with irresponsibly privatized utilities so households could afford drinking and bathing during the crisis and recovery. In CME, a case against the Czech Republic, the tribunal awarded hundreds of millions to a U.S. mogul after reasoning very erratically that the country had violated most of the cryptic investor protections in the invoked treaty. The dispute arose from Czech efforts to regulate broadcasting of cheap American re-runs on a major privatize TV station that was filling the airwaves with profitable muck. A sister tribunal in Lauder, bizarrely hearing a parallel claim by the human owner of the CME company, refused to award any compensation for the same dispute.

Book Review Symposium Introduction: The Investment Treaty Regime and Public Interest Regulation in Africa

A fundamental premise of The Investment Treaty Regime and Public Interest Regulation in Africa is that national constitutions “are supreme in the hierarchy of legal norms within the domestic context, and governmental actions in Africa, including the making of investment treaties, are governed by these fundamental legal norms.” In this monograph, I addressed, then, the question of the limits that national constitutions and the right of African states to regulate in international law place on the authority of African states in their conclusion of international economic treaties such as investment treaties. I examined four different and fundamental areas of public interest: national judicial systems, the environment, human rights, and development. Based on a constitutional-general international law imperatives analysis, I developed the imperatives theory as a theoretical framework to explain the conflict of legal norms and interests through a critical analysis of the intersections of public law and policy and international investment treaties. The issue addressed by the imperatives theory is whether the fundamental human rights and corresponding obligations of African states towards citizens under African constitutions, international environmental treaties and international human rights treaties do place or should place, limitations on the competence of African states to conclude investment treaties the terms of which constrain the exercise of the states’ public interest regulatory authority.

A Critical Review of the Book “Witness Protection and Criminal Justice in Africa: Nigeria in International Perspective” Focus: Chapters 1 and 7

This review focuses on Chapters 1 and 7 of the book ‘Witness Protection and Criminal Justice in Africa: Nigeria in International Perspective’ by Suzzie Onyeka Oyakhire. The review reflects on specific aspects adopted in discussing witness protection and the complexities surrounding its practice in the Nigerian context as presented by the author.

A Review of the Book-Witness Protection and Criminal Justice in Africa: Nigeria in International Perspective

Witness Protection and Criminal Justice in Africa: Nigeria in International Perspective’, by Dr Suzzie Onyeka Oyakhire, provides an important contribution to the processes aiming to establish witness protection concepts, legislation, and requisite structures for the Nigerian criminal justice system. As Oyakhire points out the challenges in institutionalising witness protection in Nigeria are abundant. For this reason, solid academic research such as her book, will be essential in assisting law makers in drafting a law that on one hand appropriately regulates how witness protection is applied at different stages of proceedings within the specific Nigerian legal, socio-economical, and cultural context and consciously considers what benefit international and national practices and standards could provide to the process on the other. Oyakhire’s caution against applying a ‘one size fits all approach’ and recommendation to be aware of the risk of importing ideas from abroad without due consideration to the national context is highly relevant. This is essential in trying to ensure that whatever system Nigerian authorities decide to implement, it must first and foremost be appropriately adopted to respond to national needs. Some principles for practical implementation of witness protection measures, such as how to mitigate risks through prevention, deterrence, and avoidance, will be similar regardless of the geographical location but finding the appropriate solution to these practical challenges will need to have a local flavour.

Book Review of Witness Protection and Criminal Justice in Africa: Nigeria in International Perspective by Suzzie Onyeka Oyakhire

How does the state provide effective witness protection where the witness-protection architecture is almost non-existent? How is effective protection of witnesses achieved when suspected criminals are in charge of security? How can witness protection programs be made effective without a comprehensive legal and policy framework? In contexts where potential witnesses and suspected criminals live communally and are known to each other, what does effective witness protection look like? Suzzie Onyeka Oyakhire’s new book titled Witness Protection and Criminal Justice in Africa: Nigeria in International Perspective’ used the context of Nigeria to navigate the challenges of witness protection paused by the questions above. These challenges are marked with ambiguity about the precise meaning of witness protection as different domestic and international jurisdictions accord different meanings and therefore interpretations to the concept, though with an ultimate goal of supporting the adjudication of crimes.

Book Symposium Introduction: Witness Protection and Criminal Justice in Africa: Nigeria in International Perspective

In Nigeria, the relevance of witness protection as a critical aspect of criminal justice administration is increasingly becoming evident. Recent developments in Nigeria such as the prosecution of Boko Haram members for terrorism, prosecution of former government officials and high profile individuals for economic and financial crimes as well as Nnamdi Kanu for treason, brought to the fore the need to clarify the legal and conceptual issues that underlie the framework for protecting witnesses. The concept of witness protection is characterised by ambiguity about its precise meaning, thereby subjecting it to different interpretations. Using the Nigerian case study, my book illustrates the obscurities inherent in the concept of witness protection. These obscurities are discussed around five critical themes: the definition of witness protection; the scope of beneficiaries requiring protection; the nature of crimes necessitating protection; the nature of protective measures and the administrative control of witness protection. The book thus explored the concept of witness protection which is still at an early developmental stage in Nigeria. The book draws from international debates, legal developments, and institutional practices from other jurisdictions as a basis for developing Nigerian efforts in witness protection. It adopts two distinct perspectives: the criminal justice perspectives and human rights perspectives as heuristic tools for analysing the concept and to separate the disparate influences that shape how witness protection is construed. These distinctions are utilised throughout the book as an integrated way of conceptualising the concept of witness protection.

Book Review: Unveiling Nuances, Empowering Voices, and Challenging Dichotomies in South-South Migration Dynamics

Olakpe's scholarly contribution is a thought-provoking addition to the discourse on South-South migration. Through an in-depth conceptual and methodological analysis of the law from below and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), Olakpe unveils the intricate layers of migration dynamics. Departing from the conventional south-north migration paradigm, this book unpacks the nuances of south-south migration through a critical and transformative lens, reorienting the dialogue towards the subtleties that characterize this unique migration pattern. At the heart of Olakpe's approach lies her innovative utilization of case studies and legal ethnographies in Nigeria and China. These studies serve as a lens through which she illuminates the experiences of marginalized subaltern communities, offering a critique of international law's role within the context of South-South migrations.