Dec, 1st 2020 – Lawyers in Cameroon have begun a boycott of all courts in protest against what they describe as police brutality.
Earlier this month police officers assaulted and tear-gassed several lawyers who were tried to bail out their colleagues, arrested over corruption.
This led to the arrest of two more lawyers. The president of the Bar Council in Cameroon, Evaristus Morfaw, says the strike would continue for the next five days.
Barrister Amungwa Nicodemus said that magistrates in Cameroon consider themselves superior to lawyers. He said, “Given that they have the final decision in a court does not mean they should intimidate and abuse lawyers in the process of seeking justice. This has to stop for justice to be rendered to Cameroonians to improve the society.”
According to lawyer Maurice Djanda, “the council of order has decided to suspend robe-wearing for a week. We did not talk about a strike. This means that we won’t do anything that we usually do when we wear our black dresses.”
While the Cameroon press has portrayed the event as a strike, for Lawyer Djanda, this is not the case. Speaking to Anadoli Agency, he considered it a decision much awaited by his colleagues as the latest news on lawyers was the last straw.
He added that there are a lot of obstacles to the exercise of their profession and also acts of bargaining citizens’ freedom. He said, “Faced with this, we lawyers are the last rampart. This is not the first time we have been mistreated. There are always incidents. My opinion is largely favorable to the measures we have taken.”
According to Djanda, difficult working conditions do not guarantee fairness of judges and magistrates. He said, “People prefer to go and pay judges instead of paying lawyers. Sometimes it is the judge who suggests using him instead of lawyers. It’s a real bargain.“
Djinda believes that there are many reforms to be made in particular the obsolete laws dating from before independence which should be revised and systematically imprisoning lawyers should be avoided.