Martial courts, emergency courts, expeditious justice, parody of justice... Almost all the slanderous and reductive assimilations are used when it comes to dealing with military courts. These instruments of sovereignty, whose inclination is to contribute to the maintenance of a climate of public security, curiously no longer have a good reputation, particularly since the incursion of terrorism on our soil.
As long as the Military Courts only had to deal with cases involving purely military offences or robberies with firearms, their action was considered normal by some, public health by others and even their verdicts were sometimes judged as not being severe enough. However, with the advent of terrorism, a hellish current of opinion will emerge.
It’s all about the corporation of unrepentant depreciators of the action of the Military Tribunals, accused of overwhelming poor civilians who were all the more innocent because the firearms, weapons of war and many other dangerous equipment found in their possession, which they used against the forces of law and order and the population, were, according to these preachers of the absurd apologists of terrorism only inoffensive knick-knacks such as can be found in the boxes of children's games.
The reasons for these all-round campaigns of reversal of the materiality of things are to be sought on the side of ideological sympathy, but more importantly, on the side of financial interest, because let us not forget that the nebulous terrorist raiding in Cameroon is abundantly watered with capital from hedge funds based abroad. It is therefore quite easy for them to recruit supporters who are willing to commit lying, disobediences and misrepresentations.
Because they respond to obvious imperatives of public and institutional security, the Military Tribunals enjoy a legal existence. In fact, they are nothing more than jurisdictions with special competence and prerogatives that are part of the judicial body of our country. The hearings of our Military Tribunals are thus public and free of access, the debates are confrontational and the judgements are subject to opposition or appeal.
And to better guarantee respect for the rights of persons suspected of crimes and offences within their jurisdiction, the Military Courts are obliged to apply the procedure of common law, with judicial information governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure. The best people to talk about this are the dozens of defendants who were simply acquitted by the Military Courts, in accordance with the law. Moreover, even if they are authors, co-authors or accomplices of offences under the jurisdiction of the Military Courts, minors under 18 years of age are not subject to the jurisdiction of these courts.
These are few examples just to show that we are far from the image of crushing machines for the body and the spirit that some people would like to give of our Military Courts.
Navy Captain Cyrille Serge ATONFACK GUEMO Head of Communication Division / MINDEF