Cameroon: Lawyers Call for Nationwide Strike From November 30-December 4
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Lawyers in Cameroon will undergo a five-day nationwide boycott from November 30 to December 4. The strike action by the lawyers under the banner of the Cameroon Bar Association is one of three striking resolutions that were taken during an Extra-Ordinary Council Session held November 13.
The court boycott relates to police brutality on lawyers on the 10 of November 2020 at the Court of First Instance Bonanjo, Douala. During this period, the lawyers are expected to stay off any court nationwide.
In a communiqué signed by Bar Secretary Barr Phillipe Memong, Barr. Atangana Bikouna Claire, Interim Bar President, the lawyers stated that two Douala based Lawyers, Lawyers Tamfu Ngarka Tristel Richard and Tchuenmengne Kemmegne Armel, eyewitnesses to this brutality were, without any prior summons or warrant, waylaid and apprehended by elements of the Judicial Police of the Littoral Region and charged with Insulting a Magistrate, destruction and Commenting on a matter which is sub judis.
“These Lawyers were detained from the 18 to the 20 of November 2020 and later remanded in custody by the State Counsel of the said court, to be tried under the flagrante delito procedure on the 23 of November 2020,” the communiqué read in part.
The Extra-Ordinary Bar Council Session convened by the Interim Bar President Barrister Atangana Bikouna Claire, enlarged to include the President of the General Assembly of the Bar Association, Barrister Morfaw Evaristus Nkafu.
Article 1: CANCEL THE JUDICIAL HONOURS for the late Bar President, TCHAKOUTE PATIE Charles, initially scheduled to take place at the Court of Appeal of the Littoral Region in Douala and the Supreme Court in Yaounde. The said judicial honours shall take place in a different location, more accommodating to Lawyers, which will be communicated later.
Article 2: CALL FOR A NATIONWIDE STRIKE from the 30 of November to the 4 of December 2020, during which no lawyer shall attend court.
Article 3: SUSPEND, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, the appearance of lawyers in criminal matters in all the courts throughout the National territory, including the Supreme Court and the Special Criminal court and also suspend all appearances by lawyers in all courts dealing with electoral disputes, including the Constitutional Council; after the nationwide strike action referred to in Article 2 above.
Article 4. The Secretary of the Bar is charged with the production and publication of this resolution which shall be kept in the archives of the Bar.
“Investigations reveal that the State Counsel of the Court of First Instance Bonanjo, Douala, has ordered for the arrest and detention of 15 lawyers; some of whom are either victims or eyewitnesses of the November 10 incident. The incarceration of these two colleagues points to the fate of the remaining 13 lawyers on his list. This leaves no one in doubt as to the existence of an elaborate scheme to persecute Lawyers through judicial actions, as well as the avowed resolve of some Magistrates to denigrate Lawyers and impede on the exercise of their profession at all levels,” the lawyers said stating that this is glaring evidence of a scheme to persecute Lawyers who are now treated as miscreants.
While noting the challenging times ahead the Bar Council called on Lawyers, more than ever before, to be cautious, calm and vigilant, to avoid provocation and violent confrontation, at the risk of falling into the multiple snares designed to weaken the Bar, particularly at this difficult moment when they lost and are preparing to bury the late Bar President.