News that the prosecutor of the international criminal court has received official complain with regards to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the country’s soil has rattled decision makers in Yaoundé and elevate the deepening Anglophone crisis into another level
News broke out when the letter started circulating online on Tuesday 28th May 2019 about the complaint, setting the stage for potential legal brush fires that could turn into infernos later on
The Petitioner, Beteck Kome said “Using Article 15 of the Rome Statute, I have been vigorously pursuing the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (the ICC), Mme Fatou Bensouda to instigate an investigation into War Crimes, Atrocities, and Crimes Against Humanity by dictator Paul Biya, his close collaborators, and his military against the Anglophone People of Cameroon. I had flooded the ICC Prosecutor’s office with concrete evidence of these crimes, and have remained in close contact with the ICC.” according to Cameroon news Agency
What it means for the country
The complaint in itself means nothing to the political class in Yaoundé as it still has a long way to go neither before persons are actually indicted for any crimes committed within the country, in receiving the complaint the office of the prosecutor said this does not mean that an investigation has been opened nor that an investigation will be opened.
But news of mentioning Cameroon, a onetime island of peace in a turbulent region at the same bread with ICC is itself corrosive and deeply troubling
The Anglophone crisis has catapulted the country to the international spotlight and for all the wrong reasons to the chagrin of the government and the ICC news will certainly sound like music in the ears of separatists.
For a court which has been notorious for trying former tyrants and genocidal leaders of the political class, the mentioning of its name certainly reverberates beyond the borders of the Haque, the Netherlands with aftershock deeply felt in Cameroon’s capital city of Yaoundé
The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands. The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.