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Cameroon: Lawyers want English-Speaking judges appointed in case against Ambazonia leaders

The case against the ten separatist leaders arrested and extradited from Nigeria over a year ago has been adjourned to February 20.

The case was adjourned after lawyers for the defense recused the interpreters in court during the preliminary hearings on a day the Ambazonia leaders had to prove their nationality.

The defense counsel argued theit clients should be able to understand everything in court and it was important to have an interpreter that understand the technical language as well as appoint an English-speaking judge.

“our preliminaries concerned the interpreter that was dished out to us last time…we had to raise the issue of recusing her. The judges suspended the trial and went and wrote a ruling… came back and recused the interpreter, appointing a new one” lead counsel for the defense Barrister Fru John Nsoh said.

However, Barrister Nsoh said he rather wanted the court to be reconstituted to bring in English-speaking judges given that Cameroon is still a bilingual country. He said the court ignored this aspect but they would be raising it again during the next hearing.

“It is very important (to have English-speaking judges) because the people standing trial can not understand French. They might have been Cameroonians before but they are no longer Cameroonians as they have told us…and they don’t understand a word in French,” Barrister Nsoh added.

However, the Prosecution has since insisted that the court session was meant to prove the nationality of the Ambazonia leaders and not on language issues.

On the nationality of the Ambazonia leaders, Barrister Abdul Oroh said he had obtained every documentation from Nigeria which proved the accused are refugees and asylum seekers and will be providing them at the appropriate time.

Thursday’s hearing saw a reduced presence of lawyers than the two previous hearings due to the lockdown in the North West and South West regions that hindered lawyers in that part of the country to travel to Yaounde for the case.




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