Accountability of Law Enforcement Personnel for Human Rights Violations in Cameroon: Trends and Challenges

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2021/v24i0a10395

Keywords:

Law enforcement personnel, accountability for human rights violations, torture in Cameroon, protection of human rights in Cameroon

Abstract

Law enforcement personnel are critically important in both the security and criminal justice sectors. Unlike ordinary citizens, they possess the broad powers needed to perform the tasks in these sectors: for example, they possess the power to arrest and detain; to search premises and seize items; to interrogate individuals; to stop assemblies; to check and even to restrict the movements of people during certain times; and to use force and firearms in specific circumstances. In exercising such powers, they are required to act independently and judiciously. Also, they must stay within the remit of the law. Such powers, however, render them prone to committing human rights abuses since by their very nature, they interfere with the civil and political rights of individuals. In instances of violations they are expected to be held accountable. Accountability for law enforcement for human rights violations evokes and entails the notions of lawfulness and legitimacy. As legitimacy touches on the public perception of law enforcement personnel, it becomes vital to explore what mechanisms are put in place to ensure accountability as well as possible challenges that hamper it. Examining the notion of the accountability of law enforcement personnel in the context of Cameroon, this paper argues that selective accountability has been the trend which puts the country at quite a distance from its international human rights obligations. Informed by empirical evidence from credible governmental bodies, the paper identifies and assesses the legal framework on accountability, touching on a few instances of selective accountability, and argues that if lawfulness and legitimacy are to be the cornerstones of accountability, then a comprehensive approach must be considered, including the de-politicisation of law enforcement units in Cameroon.

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References

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Published

2021-10-26

How to Cite

Agbor, A. (2021). Accountability of Law Enforcement Personnel for Human Rights Violations in Cameroon: Trends and Challenges. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 24, 1–33. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2021/v24i0a10395

Issue

Section

Articles