Summed up in efforts to set records straight, the judiciary in the North West Region has defined roles in the dispensation of justice. The event was the first semester conference of the North West Legal Department in Bamenda during which experts clarified the application of administrative detentions and police custody.
Opening the conference, the Attorney General of the North West Region, Chief Justice Marcel Oyono Abah, urged the judiciary to stand solidly by the Law of 1st January 2007, with the Criminal Procedure Code as the new way forward for justice in Cameroon. He stressed that presidential decrees appointing magistrates to the North West Court of Appeal did not make distinctions between French and English-speaking magistrates.
The nation’s bilingual status requires magistrates to serve all over the country with litigants speaking either French or English in court halls, he pointed out. His response was in reaction to the Association of North West Lawyers who are against the use of French in submissions in North West courts.
It was a moment for the Senior State Counsel for Mezam, Justice Nchang Augustine, to explain that police custody, which is the exclusive domain of the judiciary, could be ordered by administrative authorities on the strength of Law No 90047 and 054 of 19th December 1990 on the State of Emergency and maintenance of Order. It emerged from his presentation that police custody can only be ordered by magistrates of the Legal Department and Judicial Police officers.
Justice Nchang revealed that police custody can only be ordered according to Section 118 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) or by the State Counsel on the strength of Section 118 (3) of the CPC. Provisions of Section 119 (2) define the duration of custody and while Sections 122,140 and 291 focus on the rights of people in remand and sanctions. The Inspector General in the North West Governor’s office, Ivo Makoge, stressed exceptional circumstances that inspire administrative detention. It equally emerged from the conference that such situations warrant exceptional measures like the restriction of liberties to enable the authorities control, supervise and master prevailing circumstances.
Curtains dropped on the conference with the Attorney General recognising best staff with attestations of merit. North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique was around with administrative blessings for the conference.
Source : Cameroon Tribune