Cameroon – Fight Against the Death Penalty: Cameroonian Lawyers at the School of American Expertise

Written by Deckson N.

Members of the Network of Cameroonian Lawyers Against the Death Penalty, were interviewed during a capacity building workshop by the Cornell Center managers on the Death Penalty Worldwide, based in New York in the United States. The meeting was held on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 in Douala.

Always in search of the tools to ensure the best defense for those facing the death penalty, lawyers members of the Cameroon Network Against the Death Penalty (French rĂ©seau camerounais contre la peine de mort – RACOPEM) and some confreres from Paris participated in a capacity building workshop, this Tuesday, November 15, 2016 in Douala. They were maintained by a Cornell Center delegation on the Death Penalty Worldwide, based in New York, USA, led by Delphine Lourtau, its Executive Director.

The theme chosen for this workshop was “The confession in the trial of persons facing the death penalty” was not chosen by chance. Indeed, lawyers members of Racopem say they have found that most people sentenced to death have generally confessed during the preliminary investigation. But only problem: “It so happens that these confessions were obtained for the most part in violation of the fair standards that govern the trial. They are sometimes obtained through processes such as hypnosis, promises and violence, “regrets Maitre Nestor Toko, a lawyer practicing in Cameroon and chairman of the Network of Cameroonian Lawyers Against the Death Penalty.

The purpose of the meeting was therefore to give lawyers the tools to effectively question the confessions of persons sentenced to death to ensure that they correspond to the truth. “We started from the observation that many lawyers seemed to lack the necessary tools for effective defense. And so we know what role lawyers can play in the abolition of the death penalty in general and particularly in the judicial field. And that’s why we felt it was appropriate to reinforce their abilities especially in relation to confessions which are nevertheless a mode of proof that could disarm as much the lawyer as the judge, “explains the president of the network.

But beyond this learning, it was mainly about sharing experiences and expertise between the Cameroonian abolitionist lawyers and Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide leaders who are also leading this fight in the United States where the Death Penalty is still applied in a minority of States. “We want to promote cross-border exchanges between different civil society organizations, parliamentarians and other representatives of the state who are committed to the issue of abolition and who want to be part of this movement that recognizes the death penalty as a Violation of human rights, “said Delphine Lourtau, Executive Director of the Center of Death Penalty Worldwide.

The Network of Cameroonian Lawyers Against the Death Penalty (RACOPEM) was created on 15 May 2015. Its mission is to work at the national, regional and international levels in order to encourage Cameroon to formalize the moratorium on executions, To pass a law abolishing the death penalty and to ratify the OP2.

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Deckson N.

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