Cameroon: Lapiro’s case taken to Supreme Court of Appeal
“We are full of hope”, said Lapiro de Mbanga’s lawyer, Me Augustin Mbami, in an interview with Freemuse about which procedures are to be undertaken next, after losing the Appeal Court.
By Jen Bell, Freemuse’s correspondent in Cameroon
“What I have to do now is to take the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal, against this decision of the Appeal Court. Consequently, we will cease the Appeal Court of Littoral in appeal against this decision that seem, for us, to be unjustified.
As you might know there is the ways of recourse that exist, since the recent law on the judiciary organisation in Cameroon, the Appeal Court, that is a third degree of jurisdiction. For that reason, we are full of hope that the Supreme Court of Appeal that must start again the proceedings could be paying more attention to our requests and to the texts that we are referring to, concerning the decision, and to insist that our client is not guilty, notably on the complicity of instigating the looting and destruction of public and private property.
One cannot understand that SPM (La Société des Palmeraies de Mbanga), a palm grove enterprise in Mbanga, who called my client for help, today complains that my client has burned his installations, and asked to be paid the amount of FCA 200 millions. And as you see, the SPM, since the beginning of the proceedings, didn’t appear to court. In my opinion, it is not fair of the Court of Appeal to ask for that fine of FCFA 200 millions, if nothing else then for the reason that the SPM never showed up in the court room.
We have not only maintained that SPM was not there, but also, we have indicated to the Court that it was SPM who called my client, as the members of SPM hav confirmed themselves. It was SPM who called our client for help. One cannot first call you for help and then, just because you are not able to do it, as was the case with Lapiro, then you become the victim! So, we think that the Supreme Court who gives a decision in last recourse must look into this matter, and we are full off hope.”
Walters Tonteh, who is a member of Civil Society for Human Rights, commented the court’s decision in this way: “It is still a pity that the act of condemning him — Lapiro de Mbanga — without a fair trial gives to Cameroon another black thin. The black thin of what injustice which will have to undergo torture for his opinion, for his activities, which are purely inalienable, inextricable rights given by the law and asserted in document. So the people of Cameroon have to look into issues of proving innocence, proving facts, not only with political instigation to intimidate other persons, but use people who have to stand out of injustice.”