The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) repeats its call to the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to conduct the trial of Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla in a civilian court, without interference, and in adherence with international norms of legal and transparent due process. The trial, postponed on 1 February 2017 and again on 13 February 2017, is presently scheduled to be held before a military tribunal on 23 March 2017.
IBAHRI Co-Chair Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell stated: 'The IBAHRI implores the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to observe the recommendations found in the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, adopted by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights in 2003, to which Cameroon is a signatory. Decisively, Principle L provides that "Military Courts should not in any circumstances whatsoever have jurisdiction over civilians." Attempts to conflate Barrister Agbor-Balla's actions with those of a terrorist in order to justify the use of such military tribunals are disingenuous, shocking and wrong, and pose a clear threat to the independence of the judiciary.'
Barrister Agbor-Balla was arrested on 17 January 2017 and held incommunicado as a result of his involvement in protests and strikes by anglophone lawyers and teachers in West Cameroon against what they perceive as the marginalisation of the anglophone minority. The barrister was charged with a number of offences, including incitement to secession, civil war and revolution, and 'Hostilities against the Fatherland' - some of which carry the death penalty on conviction. On the same day, the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium over which Barrister Agbor-Balla presided was outlawed.
IBAHRI Co-Chair Baroness Helena Kennedy QC reiterated: 'The arrest of Barrister Agbor-Balla by military authorities that now intend to prosecute, judge and sentence him is deeply troubling to the IBAHRI and the international community. That the military tribunal may be held in closed session is further cause for alarm. It is for these reasons that the IBAHRI is again compelled to intercede on Barrister Agbor-Balla's behalf, respectfully asking the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and ensure that judicial proceedings are conducted fairly.'
She added: 'We also draw the government's attention to the rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, as well as the UN's Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, that have so far been denied to Barrister Agbor-Balla. These include his rights as an individual and a professional to personal liberty, free expression, association, protection from arbitrary arrest and the right to a fair trial.'
The reasons given by the military prosecutors for postponing the trial of Barrister Agbor-Balla are: a coinciding funeral for senior Cameroonian military officials (1 February 2017), and to allow prosecutors to produce an updated list of witnesses (13 February 2017). The trial is now scheduled for today, 23 March 2017.
The IBAHRI has previously called for due process in the trial of Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla. To read the previous statement, visit: tinyurl.com/hfp6hdq
The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world's leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.
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The Cameroon People Democratic Movement CPDM, the governing party in Cameroon was born in Bamenda on March 24, 1985 from the ashes of the Cameroon National Union CNU. As preparations for the party's 32 anniversary reaches fever pitch across the country, Bamenda the birth place of the party is not catching the euphoria which usually characterizes the build up to the celebration.
During a closed door preparatory meeting chaired by the Prime minister Philemon Yang in Bamenda early this week, local party officials raised serious worries over the unstable socio political atmosphere in the city.
They told the Permanent Regional Coordinator, Philemon Yang that the boiling tension in the anglophone regions and Bamenda in particular makes it unreasonable for any grand rally to held. They revealed that the party is still haunted by the deadly clashes of December 8, 2016 triggered by an abortive attempt by the Prime minister to forcefully hold a rally, still perceived by a cross section of the population as an act of provocation. That incident was a disastrous turning point in the combined sit down protest of anglophone lawyers and teachers.
Reacting to the worries raised by local party officials, Philemon Yang has ordered the cancellation of the grand rally scheduled for the Commercial avenue Grand stand. While some sections will commune at their levels, there will be no event in other sections due to the volatile environment.
Anniversary rallies have always been the avenue for senior party officials dispatched from Yaounde to come to their bases and sing the achievements of the regime. A move which has been heavily condemned by inhabitants of Bamenda who are embittered over the present stalemate in the North west and South west regions.
It is feared that there could be a similar atmosphere with low key celebrations in many parts of former West Cameroon following persistent calls from secessionists abroad to totally black out the praise singing event.
British police have conducted raids in London and Birmingham linked to Wednesday's attack in London, arresting seven people. Lawmakers were due to return to parliament one day after the deadly assault.
Authorities also revised the death toll, saying that four people are dead - including the attacker - and that 29 people are currently being treated in hospital for their injuries. Seven of those wounded are in critical condition:
Officers searched six addresses and made seven arrests in "Birmingham, London and other parts of the country," Mark Rowley, Britain's top anti-terrorism officer told reporters on Thursday. The raid was part of an investigation into the assailant in Wednesday's deadly attack in London, he confirmed.
Rowley added that authorities believe the attacker "acted alone" and was "inspired by international terrorism."
Police have said they know the identity of the attacker but have not yet named him as investigations into his "motivation and associates" are ongoing. The senior counter-terrorism officer added that police have "no specific information about further threats to the public."
Rowley also revised the death toll, saying that four people are dead - including the attacker - and that 29 people are currently being treated in hospital for their injuries. Seven of those wounded are in critical condition.
A knife-wielding man first plowed a car into a crowd of pedestrian-son London's Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman outside the British Parliament on Wednesday.
Parliament is due to convene later in what Prime Minister Theresa May said was a signal that the attack would not disrupt British democracy or normal daily life.
Several Londoners appeared to echo the prime minister's sentiment to defiantly carry on with their lives. The Tower Hill Underground station, known for writing a quote of the day for busy travellers to ponder as they rush through the city, posted a picture of today's quote on Twitter: "The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of them all."
They added the hashtags "London is open" and "we are not afraid."
Hon Hilarion Etong, another francophone also maintains his position as first Vice President above Hon Monjowa Emilia Lifaka who is second Vice speaker
An assailant stabbed a policeman and was shot by police just outside Britain's parliament building in London on Wednesday in what police described as a "terrorist incident".
Amid confusing scenes, it appeared the incident may have unfolded in several locations, including on the nearby Westminster bridge where eyewitnesses said a car had crashed into pedestrians.
Two people died in the incident, according to Sky News, but the total number of casualties was unclear.
"Officers - including firearms officers - remain on the scene and we are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The incident took place on the first anniversary of attacks by Islamist militants that killed 32 people in Brussels.
Reuters reporters inside the parliament building heard loud bangs and shortly afterwards saw two people lying on the ground in a courtyard just outside, within the perimeter of the parliamentary estate.
A Reuters photographer said he saw at least a dozen people injured on Westminster Bridge, next to parliament.
His photographs showed people lying on the ground, some of them bleeding heavily and one apparently under a bus.
"I just saw a car go out of control, and just go into pedestrians on the bridge," a woman who gave her name as Bernadette told Sky News. She was on a tour bus on the bridge at the time.
"As we were going across the bridge, we saw people lying on the floor, they were obviously injured. I saw about 10 people maybe. And then the emergency services started to arrive. Everyone was just running everywhere."
"HORRIBLE TO WATCH"
Some people suffered catastrophic injuries in the incident, British news agency the Press Association reported, citing a doctor at St Thomas's Hospital which is located directly across the River Thames from parliament.
Officials said an assailant had stabbed a policeman and then been shot.
Witness reports suggested the assailant and the stabbed policeman were the people seen lying on the ground just outside the parliamentary building by Reuters reporters.
The House of Commons, which was in session at the time, was immediately suspended and lawmakers were asked to stay inside.
Prime Minister Theresa May was safe after the incident, a spokesman for her office said. He declined to say where May was when the attack took place.
Journalist Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail newspaper told LBC radio that he had witnessed the stabbing of the policeman and the shooting of the assailant from his office in the parliament building.
"He (the assailant) ran in through the open gates ... He set about one of the policemen with what looked like a stick," Letts said.
"The policeman fell over on the ground and it was quite horrible to watch and then having done that, he disengaged and ran toward the House of Commons entrance used by MPs (members of parliament) and got about 20 yards or so when two plain-clothed guys with guns shot him."
Reuters reporters inside parliament saw a large number of armed police, some carrying shields, pouring into the building.
U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he had been briefed on events in London but gave no details.
In Edinburgh, the Scottish parliament suspended a planned debate and vote on independence as news of events in London came in.
Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe" meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.
In May 2013, two British Islamists stabbed to death soldier Lee Rigby on a street in southeast London.
In July 2005, four British Islamists killed 52 commuters and themselves in suicide bombings on the British capital's transport system in what was London's worst peacetime attack.
A new interim body has been put in place by the Government Delegate of the Douala city council to pilot the affairs of Marche mboppi, the largest market in the Central African sub region.
Martine Ledjio and her team have been commissioned by the city's administrator Dr Fritz Ntone Ntone following a storming meeting at the court yard of the market Tuesday March 21. The change is coming on the heels of an alleged scandal which has rocked the market for years.
Justifying his decision to remove Alice Magedjio as the coordinator, the Government Delegate
explained that the former Coordinator has been involved in a fraudulent network which has caused the city council billions of francs CFA in loses.
Alice Magedjio has been placed before the police for investigations. It is rumoured that some of the market projects are said to have been realized with fake documents produced as back up, whereas the situation on the ground is different. Money is alleged to have exchanged hands in order to hide the scam.
Quizzed on the allegations, Alice Magedjio has expressed disappointment insisting that there is ploy to get her off her position. She however says that she is confident the investigations will not incriminate her.