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                                                                                       CHAPTER ONE

                                                                               General Introduction

1.1 Background to the study.

The Republic of Cameroon is a member of the United Nations and the African Union.

It has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents. 70 years ago, on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came into being.

The United Nations affirmed their belief in fundamental human rights and the member states pledged that they would respect these laws and Cameroon being a member.

Cameroon belongs to the family of nations that recognize the equality and dignity of human beings, an essential value that should serve as the foundation for the creation, interpretation and application of positive law.

This is captured in the Revised Cameroon Constitution of 9th May 1996, “The Republic of Cameroon…”Shall ensure the equality before the law of all its citizens”.

Section 1 of the Penal Code emphasises that there is no exemption by enacting that all persons are subject to criminal law. This section clothes in legislative form, the principle already embodied in the constitution that all men without distinction are equal before the law.

Before the independence of Cameroon, jurisdiction over the territory was shared between the United Kingdom and France under the League of Nations mandate issued in 1919. The northern part of the British area became part of Nigeria while the Christian southern part joined with the French Cameroon area.

Consequently, the country inherited a dual legal system, including a part inheriting the Code Napoleon and the other Common law. The Cameroon legal system like most in Africa is a relic of the colonial era.

The Cameroon Criminal Procedure Code was harmonised, in 2005and put into force in 2007. The Criminal Procedure Code was initially to enter into previewed force on the 1st of August 2006 but actually took effect on the 1st of January 2007 to allow time for actors to abreast themselves with this novelty.

Before the coming Code D’insructionCriminelle into force of the Criminal Procedure Code, the law applicable in the North West and South West (now Regions) was the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (CPO). Meanwhile, the French Speaking part of the country applied the (CIC).

These two legislations were applicable in the English and French-speaking zones of Cameroon under Section 68. This Code lays down the principles and procedures involved in criminal actions.

This law stipulates the rules which deal particularly with the investigation of offences, the search and identification of offenders, the method of adducing evidence, the powers of those charged with the prosecution, the organization, composition and jurisdiction of courts in criminal matters, verdict, sentencing, the right of parties and the method of executing the sentence.

The Cameroon Criminal procedure code has come to stay as a blend of Common law and Civil law systems, the Criminal Procedure Code of Cameroon has provided guarantees and safeguards for the rights of accused persons before a properly constituted tribunal.

The judges while applying the provisions of the Code, should keep behind their minds the vestiges of the Criminal Procedure Code which had been abrogated by the exacting provisions of 746(1) (k)[7], instituting the Criminal Procedure Code. The novelties of this present Code as mentioned earlier must be properly articulated.

1.2 Statement of the problem.

The enforceability of human rights to parties in criminal cases has become a matter of in ordinated conceptions as judge’s decision become a ‘‘crane “controlled by the political interests of politicians or the stronger minorities of the government.

The violation section 8 of the CPC that presumes the innocence of persons before the law except proven otherwise has given a call for consent.

In addition, the flooding of cases of illegal detention and arbitrary arrest in the regions of the country has questioned the effectiveness of the law courts and other institutions in the protection of personal rights to freedom and quiet enjoyment void of constraints from societal ills.

The aforementioned stakes in the law have prompted a review on the protection of rights under the criminal procedure code of the country.

1.3 Research questions

1.3.1 General Research question

  • What are the various rights that persons enjoy under the coverage of the Criminal procedure Code of Cameroon?

1.3.2 Specific Research questions

  • What is the Nature and Form of Human rights?
  • Examine the protection of Human rights under the Criminal procedure code of Cameroon.
  • What are the various problems faced by stake parties in protecting and executing human rights in Cameroon?
  • What policy recommendations can better the protection and executions of Human rights in criminal trials?
  • Objectives of the study
  • General Objective.
    • To examine the various rights that persons enjoy under the coverage of the Criminal procedure Code of Cameroon?
      • Specific Objectives.
    • To examine the Origin, Nature and Form of Human rights
    • To acknowledge the protection of Human rights by the Criminal procedure code
    • To analyse the various problems faced by stake parties in the protection and execution of human rights in Cameroon
    • To provide policy recommendations to better stakeholders activities in the protection of human rights.

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