A Prosecutor at the Yaounde Military Tribunal, Zie Pierot Narcisse, has revealed that 19 witnesses are ready to testify against the Anglophone detainees being tried on charges of terrorism.
He made the revelation as the court began entertaining the matter, once more, on April 27. No sooner did the court session begin, than the prosecution said it was ready for the substantive matter.
The Post learnt that the prosecution witnesses are mostly army, gendarmerie and police officers. The lone Anglophone who is in the list is said to be an official of the Bamenda Regional Hospital.
The court session ran into a storm of arguments when some three lawyers said they were presenting an application to appear for the civil party in the case. This demand ignited heated debates from the defence lawyers who argued that, by virtue of Article 40 of the Law governing the Cameron Bar Association, no lawyer is supposed to appear against a colleague in court.
The article, however, states that a lawyer can only appear against his colleague in court if he is given due authorisation by the President of the Bar Council.
The Law also provides that if a lawyer files such a demand to President of the Bar and does not get a reply within 15 days, it is presumed that he or she has been given a go-ahead.
The lawyers who are bidding to hold briefs for the civil party told the court that they submitted their application to the President of the Bar since March 23.
To them, they consider that the President of the Bar has given them the go-ahead by virtue of his silence. When the prosecution said it was ready to go on with the substantive issue of the case, the lawyers of the civil party craved for an adjournment.
Such an adjournment, they argued, would enable them to study the case file in order to be at the same level of information with other parties in the matter. The court rejected the submission, saying the plea of the lawyers was not based on any law.
However, the court could not go on with the substantive matter, given that the lawyers defending Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba and Mancho Bibixy, had applied for bail for their clients since March 24. The lawyers defending the other 25 detainees said they also filed a bail application for their clients recently.
But, the court said it could not entertain the application for bail for the Anglophone leaders, while leaving out that of the 25 other detainees in the same case.
It was on these grounds that the court adjourned the matter to May 24. It is on this day that the court will examine the application for bail for the Anglophone leaders and the rest of the 25 detainees.
A battery of over 30 defence lawyers was led by the former Bar Council President, Barrister Ben Muna.
Other former Bar Council Presidents like Barristers Patrice Monthé, Charles Tchoungang, Eta-Besong Jr. and Francis Sama, were all in court. A prominent lawyer from the United Kingdom, Barrister Karim Khan, an expert in International Criminal Law, was also in court.
The court session that commenced belatedly at about 12.15 pm ended at 5.30pm.
Before last Thursday’s session, the court had another session on April 7 and ruled that the Anglophone leaders and the 25 detainees will be tried in one case. The detainees, who were arrested in the Northwest and Southwest Regions and ferried to Yaounde like war captives, are facing charges of terrorism, secession and rebellion against the State.
They will be slammed a death penalty if found guilty. Such a development will be the fall-out of the on-going crisis in which English-speaking Cameroonians are asking for more rights.