Tuesday, 8 November 2016

ESIR open fire at Common Law Lawyers amidst peaceful protest (photos)

According to several reports, ESIR opened gun fire and threw teargas at the Common Law Lawyers early today during a peaceful protest in Bamenda, Cameroon. The incident reportedly left a score of lawyers injured and are currently receiving treatment at the hospital.

The lawyers have called on President Biya to hold an emergency session of the Higher Judicial Council and re-deploy all Civil Law Magistrates from the two Common Law Jurisdictions of the Northwest and Southwest, Daily Nation  reports.

In the past, the government has argued it was not eroding the common law practice but was harmonising the two adopted foreign systems.

“We don’t have a problem with harmonisation but it should not be used as a means to thwart or by-pass a constitutional provision which talks about the bijural nature of the country,” Mr Balla stated.
Amongst the demands the lawyers submitted to the government and diplomatic missions accredited to Cameroon last year were a six-month ultimatum for the 83-year-old President Biya to facilitate Cameroon’s return to the federal system as obtained before 1972, protect the Common Law sub-system, respect the bijural system as well as protect the Anglo-Saxon educational system in the two English speaking regions.

President Biya, who has ruled Cameroon since 1982, has not returned to the country since he left for the 71st session of the UN General Assembly late September and observers say the lawyers may not have a quick-fix to their demands in the leader’s absence.

The men and women in black robes, however, say they were working on a plan B that will be implemented should their demands are not met.

“We have a strategic committee that is working on a plan B,” barrister Agbor Balla said.

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