History

By Dibussi Tande On December 23, 1992, the Bamenda High Court (in case No. HCB/19.CRM/92, Nyo Wakai and 172 others vs. the State of Cameroon) released 173 individuals who had been arrested during the state of emergency in the Northwest Province and held "under absolutely dehumanizing conditions and deteriorating in health and have hardly had any medical attention.” Supreme Court JudgesThe ruling by the Bamenda High Court infuriated the Biya regime because it went against the explicit instructions of the Minister of Justice and included an scathing condemnation of human rights abuses perpetrated by security forces during the state of emergency. A furious Minister of Justice insisted that the ruling was illegal because the Bamenda High Court was a court of “private jurisdiction” and the presiding judge, Justice Fombe, a “private judge” who was not competent to rule on “administrative (public) acts.” He therefore asked the Minister of Territorial Administration to suspend the release of the detainees.