In Yaoundé, launch of the first fact-finding mission on death row in Cameroon [press release]
26 June 2019
The report "Sentenced to oblivion. Fact-finding mission on death row in Cameroon", which was officially launched on the 21st of June at the Delegation of the European Union from Yaoundé in Cameroon, is the result of an unprecedented fact-finding mission, conducted from May to October 2018 in five Cameroonian prisons by the Cameroonian Lawyers' Network against the Death Penalty (Racopem) and the association ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty).
The investigation, led by Nestor Toko, President of Racopem and a lawyer at the Cameroon Bar, and whose report was written by Carole Berrih, Director of Synergies Cooperation, provides an objective, historical, judicial and field analysis, of the application of the death penalty in this Central African country where there is very little information on this subject.
Forty-nine concrete recommendations are made, with a view to initiating a constructive dialogue with local authorities and civil society representatives in the coming months. "This survey is intended to be a decision-making tool for political and judicial actors, in order to bring about a number of improvements and changes" explains Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director of ECPM.
To accompany the official launch of the report, ECPM organized a parliamentary meeting and a national conference in Yaoundé on the 20th and 22nd of June.
Cameroon has observed a de facto moratorium since 1997, but Cameroonian courts continue to impose the death penalty frequently, especially since the entry into force of the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2014 to combat Boko Haram in the Far North. Today, it is one of the French-speaking African countries with the highest number of people sentenced to death (330 people counted in November 2018, according to Racopem).
ECPM is the leading French-speaking association fighting for the universal abolition of the death penalty since 2000. It began its activities in Cameroon in 2010 with the Droits et Paix (Rights and Peace) association, with which it has been coordinating since 2017 the project "Accompanying parliamentarians, national institutions and civil society organisations" (co-financed by the European Union and Norway), which highlights the work of the Cameroonian Lawyers' Network against the Death Penalty (RACOPEM, created on 2 July 2015).
This report is part of the development of applied research work in the form of fact-finding missions. As of today, ECPM has conducted fact-finding missions to the United States, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Morocco and Tunisia, and in 2019 it published two other reports in Mauritania and Lebanon.
Fact-finding mission carried out in partnership with: