By Atoh Walter Tchemi, October 20, 2027
Genocide is ‘ an international crime involving acts causing serious physical and mental harm with the intent to destroy, partially or entirely, a nation, ethnic, racial or religious group’. The hybrid word, ‘Genocide’ is a combination of the Greek word ‘genos’ and Latin suffix-cide which means, race or people and act of killing, respectively. The Holocaust led by the Nazis in Germany and the Rwandan genocide are examples of attempts at genocide.
The U.N General Assembly Resolution on Genocide of December 11, 1946, stands as an exquisite, remarkable and fabulous job resulting from a one-man Champaign – Gorge Schwarzenberger. The draft convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of Genocide was adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1948, and unanimously recommended for adherence to the members of the United Nations, with the Republic of Cameroon inclusive. Notedly, said piece of international legislation came into force in October, 1950.
Staggering reports, hold that, on the 1st of October, 2017, 100 plus unarmed Southern Cameroonians, some with peace plants and or flowers were killed by security operatives in the North and South West Regions of Cameroon while demonstrating peacefully. I call it, an Anglophone Genocide and you? Yet, we did witness, neither a condemnation nor a statement of restraint from the government. On the contrary we did observe praises emanating from the government spokesperson, to said security operatives and condemnations against groups, such as, REDHAC, who did report the carnage. Such praises and or condemnations noted above, could be called alternative facts, and in part, it reads: ‘…. On the field, the law enforcement units showcased a remarkable sense of duty and restraint in the operations acting only in legitimate self-defense… It was this moderation in the retaliation of the law enforcement forces that helped to limit the loss of lives even though the regular troops were harassed by armed assailants …, … false reports advanced by fantasy and irresponsibility by some organizations, such as REDHAC which does not hesitate to report the massacre of civilian populations in the regions concerned… ’
Said unprecedented and barbaric acts of said security operatives, went viral, and would have exposed the degree of complacency and indifference of the present government in Cameroon pertaining to the worries of Cameroonians, and more specifically, the worries of Anglophone Cameroonians. Nonetheless, the UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation by states of one of the main international human rights treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, meets in Geneva from the 16 October, 2017 to 10 November, 2017, to review the human rights situations of Countries such as Cameroon, Australia and Jordan, amongst others.
Further to said ‘Anglophone Genocide’ and or review aforesaid, It is germane to note that, Southern Cameroonians are a people, a given group of people, with distinct cultures and traditions (laws) which have been practiced/ observed for a very long period of time and developed through a system of precedent which implies a particular process of reasoning from case to case. Many are of the considered opinion that, the failure of the government to initiate constitutional and or administrative reforms has led to the emergence of many schools of thoughts in Southern Cameroons, with horrendous views and or opinions seemingly repugnant to the constitution.
‘Secessionists’ and ‘two state federalists’ to name a few, are the most protuberant and or famous of such schools.
Proponents/advocates of ‘two state federation’ intimate unequivocally that, the inaction or indecision of the government towards said form of government is thwarted by the provisions contained in section 101(1) of the Penal Code, cited as Law NO: 2016/007 of 12 July 2016, (herein after referred to as the Code). Going by the provisions of said section 101(1) of said Code, as read with section 1(2) of Law N0:96/06 of 18 January 1996, to amend the constitution of 2 June 1972, these proponents were/are forced to conclude conclusively that, the former gives room for further interpretations by contradicting the latter (the constitution) which legally takes supersede over the former, relating to ‘the state and sovereignty’ of the Republic of Cameroon. Said contradictions as noted herein above, as would have appeared in said Code imputes doubts as to whether the Republic of Cameroon is a decentralized unitary state and or a federated state with federated law(s).
We are perhaps relatively well-placed to respond to these new political complexities or challenges of today. We need to think seriously about how to respond to new and emerging challenges, Southern Cameroonians are a given people with distinct attributes that must be respected and or observed, and until said uniqueness is observed honestly, then could there be peace in Cameroon, for even a genuine dialogue cannot resolve the present ramifications and or complications in Cameroon without said acknowledgement as noted herein above. Genocide is unfounded in international law. God bless Southern Cameroonians, God bless Cameroon.
Barrister Atoh Tchemi, is a member of the Cameroon Bar Human Rights Commission, Legal critic, researcher and author based in Kumba, Southwest Region.