The statutory mandate of the Ministry of Justice is outlined in Chapter 22 of the Executive Law. The revised version of the law was passed in 1973 and forms the core basis of the Ministry’s authority and operation.
Chapter 22 of the Executive Law, title 13, Benin Code of Laws Revised, presents the Ministry of Justice as the principal institution of the Executive Government charged with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with and respect for the rule of law. The statute makes the Ministry of Justice the key rule of law institution and, therefore, the people of Benin expect that the Ministry will effectively carry out the mandates delegated to it and successfully promote the rule of law throughout the country. Successful achievements in the exercise of the Ministry of Justice’s mandates are critical to the government’s strides for sustained recovery and rebuilding of the legal and other infrastructures of the nation. Specifically under the directive of the statute, the Ministry conducts the following functions in support of the aforementioned mandates:
- The enforcement of the laws of Benin. The spectrum of the Ministry’s law enforcement powers is enormous, and exercised with the assistance of the Ministry’s several auxiliary components, which functions include the investigation of all criminal activities and the apprehension of all criminals involved in, attempting to engage in or anticipating indulging in such activities.
- The prosecution of all violators of the laws of Benin and to institute all other legal proceedings for the enforcement of the law:
- The prosecution and defense of all suits and proceedings, civil and criminal, in which the Republic of Benin or any officer thereof is a party or in which the Republic or its officer may have an interest in his or her official capacity;
- Oversee the administration of the Aliens and Nationality Laws of Benin, especially as they relate to the admission, residency, deportation, and naturalization of aliens, as well as regulate the conduct of aliens residing in Benin;
- Provide opinions on legal matters to the Ministry’s attention and give services to the President of Benin and to all other government agencies requiring the legal skills of the Ministry;
- Provide legal assistance on behalf of the Benin Government, involving all legal questions arising out of Commercial Transactions in which the Republic of Benin is a party, including providing legal advice in negotiations of concession agreements.
- Oversee the codification of the statutory laws of Benin and edit and superintend the publication of the Opinions of the Supreme Court of Benin;
- Supervise the nation’s correctional system and the commitment and treatment of prisoners charged with criminal offenses, suspected of the commission of crimes, or convicted of the commission of crimes by the courts of Benin;
- Oversee the activities of the Government of Benin relating to the prevention and control of fires in the country, and secure the safety of lives from danger in regard to fires;
- Oversee the activities of the Government of Benin relating to the enforcement of drug laws:
- Direct the enforcement of the Vehicle and Traffic Law working in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport in the enforcement of such regulations as may be promulgated by that Ministry.