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The ministry of justice in Cameroon is the department responsible for the administration of the Cameroon judicial system. The system is complex with a constitution developed in 1972 and revised in 1996 as well as elements of common law and customary law. Cameroon is a bijurial state, a legacy of colonialism. That is, it operates a dual legal system, the inquisitorial system from the French civil law and the accusatory which eminent from the English common law.  But however the country is gradually departing from this heritage toward a unified and promulgated such as the crim9nal procedure code which into effect on the 1st of January 2007.  The corpus of substantive criminal law of criminal law in Cameroon is contain in the penal code describe as the first opus of the law. It defines the laws of the land by classifying and distinguishing offences and other provisions as relating crimes and punishment together with the criminal procedure code which lays downs the rules, formalities, and procedure under which justice is rendered in Cameroon. This however is asset with problems arising from a series of issues and procedure from the preliminary inquiry or investigation, full trial and execution of the court’s judgment further broken into civil and commercial matters as well as administrative justice. With this, a fundamental harmonization of the whole machinery of justice administration within the legal system is of great importance that failure will lead to incongruities.


Cameroon which is a west Africa country has a bijurial legal system, a legacy of colonialism which however the country is gradually departing from this heritage toward a unified system that will give it a legal entity of its own. Several laws have been unified and promulgated. Such is the criminal procedure code which when into effect on the 1st of January 2007. Before now the country operated dual criminal procedure system reflecting its bijurial system that is, the Inquisitorial system derived from French civil law and the accusatory which emanates from English common law. This code is the hybrid system merging key features of both systems with the common law adopted as its bases.

The corpus of the substantive law of criminal law in Cameroon is contained in the penal code of 1965-67 describe as the first corpus of law. This unification concerned essentially the Anglo-Nigeria law applicable in formal west Cameroon via the Nigeria criminal code of 1916 and the French law contained in the French penal code of 1810 applicable in then formal east Cameroon. The unification of substantive criminal law was considered imperative after the reunification of 1st October 1961. The reunification constitution of 1st September 1961 had created a federal republic of Cameroon made up of two federal states. After political independence and reunification, differences continue to exist in the administration of justice in Cameroon as there were no immediate federal laws and also because of the carrying forward of ideas, values and priorities established under the different colonial administrative systems. Under the 1961 constitution, federalism was intended as a transitional form of government, the ultimate aim being to establish a uniform system of public administration throughout the unified Cameroon in the area of criminal justice which before then was beset with problems arising from the two legal system practiced in Cameroon which however have been harmonized and promulgate in the Cameroon criminal procedure code governing the whole of Cameroon.

The word “criminal” is derived from the word “crime” which is synonymous to   the word offence and both used interchangeably. Its definition poses a problem as it varies with the society and culture and the line between what constitutes normal and criminal conduct is drawn differently by different criminal codes which largely depends on two sets of related norms that is the legal and the normal code that prevails in the society. However, a crime is a moral, legal or public wrong attended by criminal proceedings, a crime therefore is an act or omission which under any written law is deemed to a crime thus attracting sanctions or punishment.

Criminal justice is the system of practices and institution of government directed at upholding social control, deterring, mitigating crimes, or sanctioning those who violate law with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts. Criminal justice system are very different around the world depending on the country and its legal system. In Cameroon when a person is charge of a crime, he is giving right. Criminal justice in Cameroon is guided by the criminal procedure code.

The administration of criminal justice is the process by which the legal system of government is executed. Criminal justice in Cameroon consist of 3 part or three branches well developed in the modern societies such as Britain and America. That is the law enforcement, the court and the corrections. The enforcement branch made up of officers to enforce laws in their state, country or assign jurisdiction with the main purpose of upholding their local laws.  These individuals and agencies are responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining public order and safety through prevention detection, investigation of crime, apprehension and detention of individuals guilty of crimes.

 The courts are government entities authorize to resolve legal disputes. when an individual has been charged by law enforcement officers, its then the duty of the court to determine whether the charges are justified well as corresponding punishment.

 The correctional branch or rehabilitation whose duty is to ensure that punishment or in some cases rehabilitation is followed through the end of determined sentence provided by law.

The statement of the problem  

the legal foundation for the administration of criminal justice in Cameroon is the constitution particularly the portion dealing with fundamental human rights and the criminal procedure code laying down the rules governing the administration of justice. Also the courts fundamental rights are central to the administration of justice specifically the provisions on rights to personal liberty, fair hearing. With regards notwithstanding the provisions put in place, a number of hurdles have been identified that stand in the way of the administration of criminal justice in Cameroon relating to the process of the administration of justice as a whole.

1.3 The research objectives

The general objective

  • To assess the administration of criminal justice in Cameroon and it limitations

 Specific objective

  • To assess how justice is administered in Cameroon
  • To assess if justice is rendered in accordance with the law put I place. That is, the procedure involved in the process of administering justice.
  • To assess the rules of procedure meant to advance the course of justice by preventing partiality and arbitrariness in the course of judicial proceedings in criminal matters
  • To assess the respect of human rights at all stages of criminal proceedings in the course of rendering criminal justice.
    • The research question

How is criminal justice administered in Cameroon?

The hypothesis

The administration of criminal justice in Cameroon: analysis and limitations. How justice is administered identifying the hurdles that stand in the way of the application of criminal justice in Cameroon that is the process of rendering criminal justice in Cameroon and its limitations.

1.6 significance of the research

– This piece of work will benefit the government.

– it will benefit the administration of law by highlighting those areas in law that need reform.

– it will benefit the society by creating an awareness regarding the administration of justice when it is not. 





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