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Law and Justice in Cameroon: Lawyers demand Law Review Commission

By Bakah Derick

Some lawyers in the North West region have expreased the need for a Law Review Commission to be created in Cameroon. The lawyers made the observation during a workshop on the Rule of Law and Justice in Bamenda on Wednesday 8 September 2021. 
Magistrates and Lawyers at the Workshop 

Organised by the Cameroon Bar Association in collaboration with the American Embassy, the workshop according to the project coordinator Barrister Victorine Narbong Sankwa had as one of its objectives to examine loop holes in the Cameroonian laws so as to permitt  parliamentarians to make reforms that can better the lives in communities. 
Barrister Fon Robert (First from left and Advocate General Taminang Ignatius (Second from left) panelists at the workshop

Following two presentations on the "Rule of Law" by  the Advocate General of the PG chambers Court of Appeal NW Taminang Ignatius and "Justice" by Barrister Fon Robert, the participants reflected on the relevance of laws and the delivery of justice. During deliberations, the participants agreed that though laws may have iasues, the existing laws should help the Judges to serve justice to those in need. Unfortunately, with the outdated nature of some laws in the country, the over bearing powers of the executive on the judiciary and the working conditions of judges constitute reasons why justice is difficult to come by in our courts. 

"In every civilised democracy, there is a Law Review Commision. During this workshop we saw a situation where we have very archaic laws which the Law Review Commission will be able to review. Do these laws reflect the pratical reality on the ground?" Pin pointing the land tenue ordinance of 1974 amongst the Barrister at law insisted the review commission is of absolute necessity. 
Partial view of attendees
The legal minds have also expressed concerns over the state of mind and conscience of Magistrates during the discharge of justice. 

"The issue of Magistrates being appointed, disciplined and promoted by the executive impede their independence because by deemed of the fact that they are hierarchically surbodinated to the ministry, the law gives them the latitude to work within the law and their consciences but that aspect of the law and conscience is tampered with." Barrister Mbah Eric Bar Council representative for the North West said 
Barrister Mbah Eric Bar Council representative for the North West Region

As to what impact that lack of justice has on the common man, Senior Barrister Fon Robert was categorical. " I will be honest with you. The common man of the North West Region will tell you that there is no justice in Cameroon and he is using what is happening now as a barometer." 

To handle the iasue, the lawyers have recommended the effective separation of powers and improvement on the conditions of the Majestrates so as to permit them have a free conscience in dispensing justice. 
Barrister Fon Robert

Barristers Fon and Mbah while admitting that sometimes bad or irrelevant laws can affect justice have expressed the wish for laws to be made in a way that can enable the majestrate do their job well. 

Following the sincererity and seriousness during deliberations, Barrister Victorine Nargong the Coordinator noted " I think this workshop was very necessary especially for those of us in the North West and South West Regions especially with the sociopolitical upheavals, we have realised that there have been arbitrary arrest, detention without trail, torture and even murder. We think that bringing in a reminder on the rule of law will get the actors to sit-up

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