The Ad Hoc Committee created on December 22, 2016 started work in Yaounde yesterday.
The Ad Hoc Committee charged with reviewing and proposing solutions to the concerns raised by English-speaking lawyers of Cameroon relative to the functioning of the justice system will continue work in Yaounde today, December 28, 2016. The first session of the Ad hoc committee chaired by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Justice, Jean-Pierre Fogui started at the Djeuga Palace Hotel in Yaounde on December 27, 2016 with all members invited present and working with enthusiasm.
After many hours of work in-camera, it emerged from the first day of work that the English-speaking lawyers used the occasion to raise some preliminary issues that had to be resolved before deliberations proper could continue. The lawyers insisted that all people arrested in Bamenda during the violent protests of December 8, 2016, as well as others arrested in Kumba be named, either be released on bail or transferred and judged in Bamenda. They also called for the venue of their meetings to be moved from Yaounde to Buea. According to the lawyers, the technical secretariat of the Ad hoc Committee has to be headed by an Anglophone and an English-speaking lawyer designated a full member of the secretariat. Another preliminary issue they raised was lifting of the suspension of the Fako Lawyers’ Association, Meme Lawyers’ Association and North West Lawyers’ Association.
Speaking to the press before the start of the meeting, the President of the Cameroon Bar Council, Barrister Ngnie Kamga said the meeting was to first of all identify the problems English-speaking lawyers are facing. He said people think the only problem was the translation of the OHADA Uniform Act into English but other problems exist. Barrister Ngnie Kamga cited the creation of the Common Law Bench at the Supreme Court, creation of the Common Law Department at the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) and the deployment of magistrates to the English-speaking part of Cameroon who master the Common law culture for justice to be considered equitably done. He said their mission is to make reasonable proposals to help government solve the problems.
There are high hopes that the Ad hoc Committee will come out with acceptable proposals considering the high turnout and the fact that the presiding Minister asked Barrister Nico Halle to start their deliberations with prayers.