Dr Dione Ngute was the agent representing LRC at the hearing of the case brought on behalf of the Southern Cameroons by Dr Gwang Gumne and others in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Judgement in the case was rendered in Banjul, the Gambia during the 45th Ordinary Session that held from 13 – 27 May 2009.
In the Judgment that was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly of African leaders during the AU conference in Sirtre in Libya, the African Commission unequivocally called for dialogue to resolve the crisis and offered its services to facilitate the dialogue. It gave LRC 180 days to comply with its Judgment. It is on the records of the African Commission that LRC asked for an extension of time to comply with the Judgment.
Mr Prime Minister, true to itself, LRC did not comply with that Judgment and did not respect the decision relating to dialogue facilitated by the African Commission, even after the expiration of the extended timeline it sought and obtained. What a reckless display of bad faith! .
In its characteristic exercise of impunity, LRC intensified its systemic and widespread violations of the protections afforded Southern Cameroons in international law. These violations have been ongoing since an unprecedented conspiracy facilitated the breach of the UN Charter and UN Resolutions paving the way to the annexation and colonisation of Southern Cameroons by the LRC. The escalation of the violations has led to genocide, also called the mother of crimes on the watch of a slow to act civilized world. This is unacceptable.
The Government of Cameroon considers these atrocity crimes as its legitimate exercise of impunity with arrogant alacrity. Its civilian and military commanders have in publicly available and well documented statements taken responsibility for these crimes. They have consistently praised the professionalism of its military for conducting a war of genocide in which more than 200 civilian settlements have been torched with shocking charred remains of vulnerable children, women, the old and the sick left in the debris. The Prime Minister Dr Dione Ngute himself on this so-called dialogue with the dead, praised the professionalism of these soldiers. During his visit there perpetrated egregious violations even in the neighbourhood of Bambili which he visited. There, they massacred in a cold blood, a mother and her baby. Mr Prime Minister, this is genocide and not dialogue. I did not hear you order the arrest and prosecution of the criminal soldiers who massacred that mother and her baby. The massacre of that woman and her child a few metres from where you visited indeed symbolizes the fate of hundreds of thousands of Southern Cameroonians for no reasons other than that they are Southern Cameroonians. That again sir, is genocide.
I began this piece by making a reference to the Judgment of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights which LRC accepted and asked for time to comply with but reneged on. LRC in contempt instead intensified its 58 year old campaign of intimidation, humiliation, dehumanisation, indignity and death. As the representative of LRC during the entire proceedings and judgment, you were and are better placed to advise your government to the hard reality that international legality may be slow but effective. When Justice catches up with the arrogant exercise of impunity and criminality, its impact may devastate the soul of conscienceless predators of human life. Differently, stated, a time comes when the victims of atrocious crimes are given a voice from their unmarked lonely graves to seek justice on their own behalf. That time sir, will come, sooner or later, here or in the hereafter. This truth sir, is sacrosanct.
Therefore, sir, I beg to ask. How do you feel conveying the concomitant message of conditional dialogue and genocide from your President to his victims? Does the said message not greatly contradict the dialogue decided by a respectable continental justice mechanism the African Commission which was endorsed by continental leaders? Was it not obvious from the Judgment of the African Commission that an international facilitator would be required to oversee the dialogue? And was it not for this reason that it offered to play that role? In your so-called ongoing dialogue, sir, I did not hear you regret the massacres, the genocide, the crimes against humanity, the war crimes etc. Why? I did not hear you talk about a transitional justice mechanism to prosecute civilian and military commanders responsible for these atrocity crimes in the Southern Cameroons. I did not see you feel the pain and suffering of millions of civilian victims of the atrocity crimes. Rather, I heard the evocation and rendition of the typical and resentful CPDM sycophantic war cries and slogans praising the god-president for his promise of mercy for those who lay down arms. Laying down arms to facilitate the atrocity crimes sir? Those you alleged laid down arms, have the locations from which they allegedly defected been spared the visit of your angels of death and the mayhem they bring to the civilian population? Have they sir? I bey to ask.
There is a common and recurring position taken by the international community on this war that was declared by LRC. That position is that there should be an inclusive dialogue with no pre-conditions, to tackle to the root causes of this conflict. From where then did you come about with the exclusion of the so-called secession or separation? Is this pre-condition not a distraction and an attempt to obviate the mandatory root causes of the conflict? Are the root causes not the umbilically linked violations that eviscerated the Southern Cameroons right to external self determination under the UN Charter guaranteed by UN Resolutions which LRC opposed and opted for annexation and colonial rule?
The right to resolve this conflict through an internationally organised dialogue in which negotiations will hold sway was obtained through a legal process before a Continental legal mechanism and endorsed by African Leaders. The international community has overwhelmingly taken the same position with renewed vigour. That position is therefore, not subject to a unilateral modification by LRC. That sir, is an unacceptable diktat. This unacceptable diktat tantamount once more to a disregard for the international rule of law on the basis on which international legality, peace and security are founded.
Mr Prime Minister, sir, as you pursue this futile adventure to insult the memory of victims, permit me to remind you that the informal meeting of the UNSC on this crisis on 13 May 2019, apart, the celebration on the 23 May 2019 at the UN of the 70 th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions which LRC is a state party, should be a shock reminder to LRC that the spirit of that multilateral treaty and many others is alive. That LRC place on the radar of the Geneva Conventions will soon be guaranteed, not for the right reasons, but for its atrocity crimes in the Southern Cameroons against civilians who are protected by the convention. The anniversary ceremony of the 23 May 2019 of the Geneva Conventions 1949 and the ten anniversary of the UN Resolutions for the protection of civilians in armed conflicts should be an opportunity for LRC to seriously consider, calling off this genocidal war and withdraw its soldiers for peace to prevail. It’s military misadventure and atrocity crimes have failed and will continue to fail to tame the spirit of Southern Cameroons freedom seekers who are inspired and emboldened by the justice of their cause, international legality and the pursuit of legitimate self defence.
History sir, provides you and the government you serve another opportunity to listen to the voice of humanity and the international community and get to the negotiating table while there is time. Stop the callous slaughter and the genocide now. Your present tour is a celebration of genocide and not dialogue.
Chief Charles Taku