Bar Council Condemns Government, Requested Penal Code be Withdrawn

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                                  PRESS RELEASE THE CAMEROON BAR COUNCIL

Meeting in an Extra-Ordinary Session at its Head Office in Yaounde this 16 day of June 2016 at the request of the Bar President;

TAKES COGNISANCE of the submission by the Government to the National Assembly of the Draft Bill N°989/PJL/AN on the amendment of the Penal Code in its June 2016 Session;

VEHEMENTLY CONDEMNS the translation disparity between the French and English versions of the said bill with the consequential effect being the divergence in interpretation and the likelihood of misinterpretation and application of the said text with the probability of creating chaos in the administration of Justice;

CONSIDERING the fact that the Government’s objective in Criminal law is to guarantee the respect of the rule of law, the Penal Code being a perfect reflection thereof; Hereby state that various Stakeholders like Judicial Actors and the Civil Society Organizations Operating within the Human Right Sector should constitute part of the drafting and law review process;

REMARKS that Lawyers and Magistrates who are the Principal judicial Actors charged with the application of the Penal Code have been totally sidelined; THE BAR COUNCIL expresses its deep regret that it was never consulted before the submission of the draft bill to the National Assembly;

CONSIDERING the importance the Bar Council attaches to concerted legislation for nationwide interest; THE BAR COUNCIL WHOSE MISSION IS TO IMPROVE ON THE DRAFT BILL HEREBY DECIDES TO CREAT A TECHNICAL COMMITTEE FORTHWITH with the following terms of reference :

– Take cognizance and highlight the problematic provisions some of which feature in the Bar President’s Memorandum ;

– Review the drafting of the said problematic provisions; – Strike out obsolete and unwarranted provisions; – Ensure compliance and conformity of the Draft Bill vis-à-vis International Instruments ratified by the Republic of Cameroon;

– Ensure the insertion and inclusion of certain Penal dispositions embodied in other pieces of legislation;

THE BAR COUNCIL STATES that this Press Release is made in the interest of the general public; And hereby request the withdrawal of the Draft for purposes of uniformity of the content in terms of translation and review of same.

FURTHERMORE, THE BAR COUNCIL urges PARLIAMENT to take up its responsibilities by looking at the form and content of the memorandum submitted by the Bar President.

AUTHORISES THE BAR PRESIDENT to follow up and oversee the effective implementation of the proposals submitted by the Bar Council to the GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT.

DONE AT YAOUNDE, THIS 16 DAY OF JUNE 2016

THE BAR PRESIDENT Jackson F. NGNIE KAMGA

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