22, February 2017
The arbitrary arrest of the Chairman of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, Barrister Agbor Felix Nkongho and Lord Justice Ayah Paul Abine including the demands of the Anglophone lawyers and the Penal Code adopted during the parliamentary session of June 2016 will certainly be on the menu as judges of the Supreme Court prepare to meet today Wednesday.
The event which is the traditional solemn opening ceremony of the judicial year will have a completely different twist this 2017 notably the adoption of the Penal Code and the continued grumbling of lawyers in Southern Cameroons. As regards the Penal Code, the CPDM crime syndicate crafted new items that introduce alternative penalties to imprisonment, criminal liability of legal persons, and penalization of adultery. Cat calls had greeted some aspects in the new law on the immunity of members of the government and the penalization of offenses on public demonstrations, press offenses, as well as adultery.
As for the situation in the English-speaking part of the country, the matter has become more intractable over the failure of the regime to address the demands earlier made by Anglophone lawyers for a better consideration of the Common Law principles in judicial practices. The Southern Cameroons legal practitioners had indeed called for the establishment of a specialized section in the Supreme Court to examine appeals from West Cameroon and the lawyers also wished that a particular branch be created at the National School of Administration and Judiciary, ENAM for the magistrates of Common Law. These demands were met with a stone wall erected by the Francophone political elites who described Anglophones as ‘rats’ not fit to be part of the state of Cameroon.
The solemn hearing of the Supreme Court next Wednesday takes place in accordance with the provisions of article 33, paragraph 1 of Law No. 2006/016 of 29 December 2006 on the organization and functioning of the Supreme Court. At the beginning of each judicial year and not later than February 28, the Supreme Court shall hold a solemn reopening hearing.
By Rita Akana