By Eric Tataw – Thursday July 11, 2019
The leader of the Anglophone separatist movement, Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and 9 other detainees held at the Kondengui Principal Prison, a high security detention facility in Yaoundé, capital of the Central African country of Cameroon have been notified with a decision of the President of the Court of Appeals of the Centre Region, National Telegraph has been told.
The Judgement was served Wednesday July 10, 2019 but dated May 2, 2019, a source has said. Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and the nine others are said to have filed a petition recusing Magistrates MEM Michel, EDOU MEWOUTOU Fidele Arman and NGOUONGUE TIANI Sandrine from hearing their matter at the Yaoundé Military Court.
The Recusal Petition against the entire panel presided at by Col MEM Michel including Magistrates EDOU MEWOUTOU Fidele Armand and NGOUONGUE TIANI Sandrine was filed, March 6, 2019, a source said, adding that before the matter was determined, Col MEM was transferred.
Our source went on that MEM was succeeded in the panel by Lt Col MISSE NJONE Jacques Baudouine who continued entertaining the case in court without restarting the case de novo as is the law when judges are transferred and also carried out acts in the matter including opening hearing in the absence of both the defense and their lawyers which convinced the victims they cannot have justice before same court.
Reports say they further petitioned the President of the Court of Appeals again in yet another Recusal against Lt Col MISSE NJONE Jacques Baudouine who came to court on June 19, 2019 when a decision has not yet been issued and noted that because of the Recusal filed against him he couldn’t proceed with the case until the Court of Appeals determined the matter.
Another source said he adjourned the matter to the July 9, 2019, but before the date matured, the Petitioners were notified with a Decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the petition. Meanwhile, the earlier Petition against Col MEM and other members of the panel was still to be determined.
In the hearing of the July 9, the defense team insisted that the panel was incompetent because of the Recusal. The court adjourned the matter so as to permit the Prosecution notify the Petitioners with the Ruling of the court in the Col MEM and two others. The said notification is only being served on the Petitioners Wednesday July 10, 2019, National Telegraph has confirmed.
A legal expert said the action of the Court of Appeals means in pursuant to their petition, received the Statement of Defense of the Respondents as well as the Submissions of the Legal Department and proceeded straight to judgment which they kept in their drawers until Counsel for the petitioners raised the issue of non-determination of the said application at the recent hearing of Sisiku et alia on Tuesday July 9, 2019.
The legal expert went on that they now rushed to notify the defendants with certified copies of the said Judgment known in French as “Expedition” signed only by the Registrar of the court.
Unlike the case of the matter against Lt Col MISSE NJONE JACQUES wherein the Petitioners were fined to pay a symbolic franc, in this case they’ve been fined to pay each of only two Respondents, to wit, Magistrates EDOU MEWOUTOU Fidele Armand and NGOUONGUE TIANI Sandrine the sum of Five Hundred Thousands francs CFA as damages for moral prejudice, said the expert.
What is most disturbing, he adds, which is peculiar to the Civil Law jurisdiction of Cameroon is this fact that for a serious application of this nature and wherein by law the court sits as first and last resort with no possibility of appeal against its decision, the Petitioner is never served with the documents filed by both the Respondents and the Legal Department in response to their application.
He concluded that if such a case occurs, the defendants are only served the judgment. This is an application which by nature is necessarily adversarial or contradictory in nature. This is purely a gross violation of the right to Fair Hearing, he’s marveled.
Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, the President of the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, an outlawed government fighting for the restoration of the statehood of the former British Cameroon and nine other members of his government were at the Yaounde Military Court, Tuesday July, 9, 2019 but the judge adjourned the case to Tuesday July 23, 2019.
Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius and eleven others were arrested in Nera, a hotel in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, January 5, 2018. Ten of them would later be extradited to Yaoundé, an act that has been described as a bootleg. They’re being accused of fueling the armed conflict that has broken out in the two English-speaking regions. They’ve all denounced their Cameroonian Nationality, insisting that they’re of Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia, a self-proclaimed new nation.
Unrest in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions began in October 2016 as a disagreement in language but government mismanaged it, turning it into an armed conflict with a demand by majority of Anglophones in the North West and South West for a separate state called Ambazonia as it was in 1961. Many are now asking the International Community to look at the root cause of the conflict from 1961.
According to credible reports from the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Barlerin, reputable Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla and Bishops of Mamfe and Kumbo, the Cameroon military has been wrapped in several war crimes.
The Cameroon government has blocked Humanitarian organisations from having access to the war-torn areas while others have been denied entry into the country like a recent case of a Human Rights Watch staff.
Armed separatists have also been accused of torture and human rights abuses according to a recent Human Rights Watch report but they’ve denied any wrongdoing, saying that government soldiers now dress like Ambazonia fighters, commit crimes and blame it on separatist.