Sunday, 26 June 2016

Bamenda Lawyers Protest Against Cameroon's New Penal Code (photos)

*A criminal code (or penal code) is a document which compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law.

Cameroon has been using an obsolete Penal Code which was created in 1967 until the evening of Tuesday June 22, when Parliamentarians adopted a new but controversial Penal Code under Bill No. 989/PJL/AN. The Social Democratic Front (SDF) Parliamentarians rejected the bill on grounds that consultations leading to the preparation of the Bill were not broad-based. However, the CPDM majority won the vote. 

On June 23, Bamenda lawyers took to the streets of Bamenda dressed in their official regalia to protest the new Penal Code. They marched in rain from High Court premises Up Station to down town, passing through City Chemist to the Commercial Avenue and back to City Chemist before making public a declaration.

According to Barrister Kemende Henry, Representative of the Cameroon Bar Association and Council in the North West Region, the aim of the protest was to make the public understand that the bill is obnoxious because it protects the rich and discriminates against the poor. “We do not want society to blame us tomorrow for not condemning the law,” the barrister said. He also added that the major problem with the bill is that it criminalizes offenses arising from private contracts.

The lawyer hinted that should the government continue with the procedure to get the bill fully adopted, they will move to Plan B, a plan which we learned will entail the sensitizing of the public.

Find below an excerpt of the new bill and the "official translation" from a country that is officially recognized as bilingual!
"...Article 7(1) French version: « La loi pénale de la République s’applique à tout fait commis sur son territoire ». Translation “The Criminal Law of the Republic shall apply to any offense committed within its territory” Why should the English translation mention “done or omitted”. Why the word omitted which is not in the French version. Maybe it is the word “committed” which has been misspelled
(2) Territory is limited to land, water ways and airspace in Cameroon. What of our embassies? Do they not constitute part of the Cameroonian territory?

Article 8 (2) b French version… « Contrefaçon du sceau de l’Etat ou monnaie nationale » : Translation “Counterfeiting of the great seal or the current money of the state” What is a great seal and what is current money of the state?” Proposal: It should have been translated as “…The seal and official currency of the state ..”

Article 9 (a) French version: « Les faits constitutifs de complicité, de conspiration et de tentatives réalisés sur le territoire de la République en vue de commettre une infraction ;

b) Les mêmes faits réalisés à l’étranger en vue de commettra une infraction sur le territoire.

Translation : a) “To any acts or omission within its territory constituting abetment, conspiracy or attempt with the view to an offence without the territory. - Why act or omission in the English version meanwhile in French it is just “act” (faits)? - With a view to (the word “commit”) is not mentioned in the English version.

b) To any such act or omission without its territory with a view to an offense within that territory. - The word “commit” is omitted in the English version while “without its territory is ambigu..."
See photos from the protest below... 

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