Reprisals

Shortly after Jan Cappelle’s expulsion from Cameroon, Mr Aminkeng, in his duty as Divisional Officer, planned and orchestrated the total demolition of the farms in Tudig under management of Jan Cappelle . He worked together with civilians to execute the job. The perpetrators made use of extreme forms of violence that could have resulted in loss of life. They were armed and did not hesitated to threaten children and elders. They threatened to kill Tudig’s Regent and to wipe out Tudig village. Notwithstanding these life-threatening situations, the perpetrators enjoyed total impunity.

The OHCHR mandate holders also raised this particular matter with the Government of Cameroon on May 29 2019. The State of Cameroon presents a fictitious judgement in its defence. The judgement might now be used to arbitrarily arrest and detain Tudig’s Regent Vincent Awazi. While the State of Cameroon declares that Jan Cappelle is free to submit an application for re-entry, it might use the fictitious judgement to orchestrate Jan Cappelle’s arrest and detention once more.

This fictitious judgement might also trigger new forms of violence against Jan Cappelle and the persons he work with in Cameroon. Jan Cappelle already faced moments of insecurity during his stay in Cameroon. Cameroon’s refusal to punish perpetrators of extreme violence might encourage them to continue with these acts. It is an undeniable fact that an investigation into the matters was not an impossible or disproportionate burden upon the judicial authorities in Cameroon. Jan Cappelle and his contacts in Cameroon always managed to keep detailed records of each event and involved persons. Be it directly or indirectly by working together with renowned international organisations, the Cameroon State Human Rights body NCHRF and the OHCHR mandate holders, Jan Cappelle and his contacts in Cameroon systematically and persistently informed the relevant judicial and administrative authorities in Cameroon about each event. With all these elements together, Jan Cappelle believes that the Cameroon Government intentionally and wilfully denies Jan Cappelle to have an effective remedy. At the same time, the Cameroon State (1) removed Jan Cappelle and (2) keeps removing anyone in Cameroon that works with Jan Cappelle from the protection of the law.

In this regard, worth mentioning is:

(1) Notwithstanding eight (8) complaints were filed with the Public Security of Mbengwi Sub Division in relation to the demolitions of the farms and the use of extreme forms of violence during that process, theSecurity Departments and the Legal Department in Mbengwi (1) never visited the place, (2) did not undertook any action to ensure the preservation of evidences, (3) did not interrogation alleged perpetrators, and (4) never conducted searches with the objective to confiscate guns and ammunition. None of the perpetrators got punished. There was sufficient information available about the whereabouts of the perpetrators.

(2) Notwithstanding three (3) complaints with the State Counsel and the Police department in Bamenda in relation to threatening calls to Jan Cappelle’s lawyer in Cameroon, the attempted kidnappings of his family, and the kidnapping and torture of his younger brother, no investigation took place, no one got interrogated or brought to justice.

In reaction to this particular situation, Jan Cappelle and his contacts in Cameroon applied the procedure under Section 135(3) of the Cameroon Law N. 2005 of 25 July 2005 on the Criminal Procedure Code. Based on this procedure, any administrative authority, including Ministers, so informed shall be bound to bring information aboutoffence classified as a felony or misdemeanour to the knowledge of the nearest State Counsel or judicial police officer. The State Counsel, any judicial police officer or any administrative authority shall be bound to receive the information or complaints. Concretely, a large number of letters were send to the relevant authorities on the matter of the destructions and related violence, the arbitrary and secret detention of Jan Cappelle, his illegal expulsion, and the persistent pattern of threatening calls and use of violence against Jan Cappelle’s lawyer in Cameroon, including:

(1) three letters, with online petition, by the renowned international human rights organisations International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organisation against Torture (OMCT). These letters were send to the Cameroon Government and President on March 31 2017, June 20 2017, April 20 2018.

(2) submissions made by these organisations during the 60th and 62nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), on May 12 2017 and from April 25 to May 9 2018. Cameroon had its representatives present during both sessions.

(3) Amnesty International, letter to the Cameroon State Human Rights body NCHRF, March 22, 2017.

(4) The National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, letter from the President of the Working Group on Political and Civil Rights to the judicial and administrative authorities in Cameroon, including the office of the Prime Minister of Cameroon, March 31 2018.

(5) The Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF), Report on the State of Human Rights in Cameroon  2017, November 26 2018, published online and presented during a press conference.

(6) The Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF), Sub commission on civil and political rights, adopted on October 31 2018, “Au sujet des conditions de repatriement du consultant Belge Jan Joris Cappelle du territoire du Cameroun et des allegations de violation des droits des membres de l’association OFFGO”, send to the Government of Cameroon and the President of Cameroon.

(7) two letters by the renowned international human rights organisation Frontline Defenders. These letters were send to the Government of Cameroon and the President of Cameroon, concretely on June 4 2019 and June 30 2019. The latest letter includes a very serious life-threatening event that took place in Tudig. A group of men wearing military-style fatigues plant grenades in the path leading to Tudig’s Palace and OFFGO’s office in Tudig.

(8) Seven OHCHR mandate holders wrote the Government of Cameroon on May 29 2019. Another letter was sent on September 18 2019.