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Special Applications in the Criminal Procedure Code of Cameroon

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This study was intended to evaluate the extent to which Special applications are being enforced by judges in a criminal trial

The study is guided by the following objectives; To determine the degree to which justice is served through the applications made by counsel in a Criminal Court trial, to understand what is meant by special applications, to investigate if the Criminal Procedure Code of Cameroon has some special applications and to assess the procedural rules available for its application.

The study employed descriptive and explanatory design both on primary and secondary sources like legislation, case law, statutes treaties and secondary sources like textbooks, journals, internet, newspapers, lecture notes, report thesis and manual analyses are made from findings and recommendations.

The study focuses on Special applications in the Criminal Procedure Code of Cameroon and how judges react to these applications when they are being tendered in court. Findings provide that, these applications are being determined based on lawful technicalities and sometimes out of the judges’ discretion that is sometimes manipulated by influential and powerful people of the society.

It is noted that, due to the bi-judicial system of the country, other issues of competence and language problems influence the granting of Special applications in the courts.

Findings in the study, reveals firmly that, there is a relationship between the sociological variables and the judges in granting Special applications in the Criminal Procedure Code



1.1Background to the study.

Criminal procedure falls within the scope of adjectival law as opposed to substantive law.

It is the sum total of methods and rules laid down by the law for bringing an alleged offender before a court of law to face trial Without Criminal Procedure, the substantive law cannot be applied.

The rules of procedure are as important as the law itself because a breach or non-respect of the procedural law may lead to the nullity of the entire trial process.    

Criminal procedure deals with the mechanisms by which the criminal law is enforced and the mode of adducing evidence to prove an offence.

Prior to 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.

As a consequence of this, 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’insruction Criminelleinto 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 by virtue of 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 organisation, 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), instituting the Criminal Procedure Code. The novelties of this present Code as mentioned earlier must be properly articulated.

1.2 Statement of the problem

With the coming into force of the Criminal Procedure Code, special applications have been made visible within the readiness of the code. However, there is a problem associated with the inadequate attention paid to these special applications.

This is applications though motivated by the applicants, are usually not granted because the judges determine the success of the applications based on their conscience.

Thus in the view of this research leads to a problem where the judges turn to disregard the law in favour of their religious backgrounds.

The criminal justice system has a judicial structure of courts and the various courts have their competencies and composition which is been stipulated by law.

But sometimes, this composition or structures are being violated because of some political influences or interests

1.3 Research Question

The following questions will serve as a guild to this research work;

  • What are special applications in a Criminal trial?
  • Are there any special applications in the Criminal Procedure Code?
  • Does the court grant all special applications in the Criminal Procedure Code made by Counsels during trial and why?
  • When do we make special applications during a criminal trial?
  • Are there some special procedures to follow before making an application in court?

1.4 Objective of the study

1.4.1 General objective

  • To determine the degree at which justice is served through the applications made by counsels in a Criminal Court trial.

1.4.2 Specific objective

  • To understand what is meant by special applications.
  • To investigate if the Criminal Procedure Code of Cameroon has some special applications.
  • To examine the courts standing as to the granting of these applications.

Moreover, this research is also to determine the time to make special applications during a court trial.

  • To assess the procedural rules available for the applicant
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