Arbitrary expulsion

The National Gendarmerie of Fundong circulates an intelligence report, depicting unverified information as the truth. The author of the report accuses Jan Cappelle of undertaking initiatives to kill businessman Baba Danpullo. Notwithstanding the obligation under Cameroon law to forward such information to the State Counsel, the report only circulates within the ranks of the National Gendarmerie of Cameroon. The National Gendarmerie of the North West Region assigns its departments in Mbengwi and Bamenda to open an investigation.

This investigation never took place. The Directorate General for External Research DGRE calls the Belgian embassy in Cameroon in the first week of April 2016. The DGRE director recommends Jan Cappelle’s expulsion. Shortly after, on May 13 2016, Jan Cappelle got expulsed from Cameroon.

Due process was not followed in the expulsion of Jan Cappelle, in violation of article 13 of the Covenant. Before expulsion, Jan Cappelle was detained incommunicado for two days, what prevented him from exercising his right to take proceedings before a court. Jan Cappelle was denied food and water for 2 days. Jan Cappelle was never informed, not at the time of arrest nor during detention, of the reasons of his arrest and of the charges levied against him. The State of Cameroon never gave Jan Cappelle the motives of expulsion, the right to submit reasons against expulsion and to have the decision reviewed by and to be represented before the competent authority or someone designated by it. Jan Cappelle was denied any effective means of judicial protection.

It is a continuous violation. Questioned by the Cameroon State Human Rights body NCHRF, the judicial and administrative authorities made false statements about the motives of expulsion. The NCHRF reports that it had made numerous attempts to receive a copy of the administrative file, all to no avail.

An investigation into Jan Cappelle’s expulsion is not an impossible or disproportionate burden upon Cameroon State. Numerous letters were send to the relevant authorities between May 2016 and August 2019.

Seven OHCHR mandate holders wrote the Government of Cameroon on the matter. In their letter, of which a copy got send to the Government of Belgium and Baba Danpullo, they ask the Government of Cameroon to explain to them on how the the various events are consistent with its obligation under international law. The mandate holders made reference to the reports from the Cameroon State Human Rights body NCHRF, and added a number of new elements, including the persistent pattern of life-threatening events in Tudig, the threatening calls, the kidnapping and torture of the brother of Jan Cappelle’s lawyer and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators. The Government of Cameroon replied this letter on July 29 2019. It failed to motivate Jan Cappelle’s expulsion and it did not confirm Jan Cappelle’s arrest, detention and expulsion.

Notwithstanding the Cameroon State confirms in its letter to the OHCHR mandate holders that arbitrary and secret detention constitutes an act of torture, the State fails to bring the perpetrators to justice. One of the perpetrators is Mr Eko Eko, Director-General of the Presidential Directorate General for External Research (DGRE). Based on the available documentation and the chronology of events, he was actively involved in a series of actions against Jan Cappelle. Confronted with questions from the Cameroon State Human Rights body NCHRF about Jan Cappelle’s arrest, detention and expulsion in May 2016, he depicted unverified information as accepted fact. He violated Jan Cappelle’s assumption of innocence. The unverified information was never kept private, an act that had as objective to generate aversion in his regard.