This communication was submitted by Annette Pagnoulle of Amnesty
International and concerns Abdoulaye Mazou, a Cameroonian national. Mr.
Mazou was imprisoned in 1984 by a military tribunal without trial, without
witnesses, and without right to defense. He was sentenced to 5 years
imprisonment for hiding his brother who was later sentenced to death for
attempted coup d'etat. Even after he had served his sentence in April 1989,
he continued to be held in prison and was only freed by the intervention of
Amnesty International on 23 May 1990. He continued to be under detention at
his residence until the law of amnesty of 23 April 1991.
 Although Mr. Mazou has now been freed, he has not been reinstated in his
position as a magistrate. The complainant therefore requests action be
continued on his behalf.
 The government was represented by a delegation at the 20th session of
the Commission held in Mauritius in October 1996, which asked that the
communication should be declared inadmissible because it was still pending
at the Supreme Court.
 The alleged victim petitioned the President of the Republic in order to
solicit his reinstatement as a magistrate. He then submitted an out of court
settlement to the Ministry of Justice. When no response from the President
or the Ministry was forthcoming the alleged victim made a submission for a
legal settlement to the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court which
rejected his case in principle. He submitted further petitions to the
Supreme Court and seized the Ministry of Justice for reinstatement in his
position. He has also undertaken to bring political pressure, jointly with
others, to reclaim his profession. As yet, none of these actions has
produced any result.
 The Commission was seized of the communication at the 7th Session in
 On 31 May 1990, the Secretariat of the Commission notified the state of
Cameroon of the communication and asked it for its views on admissibility.
 On 1 March 1995, the Secretariat informed the complainant that the
Commission takes note of the release of Mr. Mazou. The complainant was
advised to inform the Commission whether or not his release was satisfactory
reparation for Mr. Mazou no later than July 1, 1995.
 On 8 June 1995, a fax was received from the complainant stating that
although the victim, Mr. Abdoulaye Mazou, had been released he had not been
reinstated in his position as a magistrate, to which he is legally entitled.
 At the 19th session, in March 1996, the communication was declared
admissible. The parties were notified of this decision
 At the 20th Session, held in October 1996, a delegation of the
government of Cameroon was present and submitted a written response to the
effect that the communication was inadmissible. The delegation also
admitted, however, that the conditions under which Mr. Mazou was tried by a
military tribunal fell short of the standards provided for in the African
Charter, but that the laws governing such tribunals had since been changed.
The delegation promised to forward to the Commission the written judgement
of the Military Tribunal, any judgement concerning the alleged disciplinary
measures against Mr. Mazou, a document proving the existence of recourse a
concerns disciplinary measures and the law after which Mr. Mazou was
condemned. The Commission decided to postpone consideration of the case to
the 21st session.
 On 24 March the Secretariat received received a letter from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cameroon informing the Secretariat that the
question had been dealt with in the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme
Court and that all interested parties had the possibility of exhausting
local remedies. The Ministry also sent the Supreme Court judgment, the
ordinnance no 304 which placed Mr. Mazou under surveillance, ordinnances no
72/5 and 72/20 concerning the compentence of the military court and law no.
74/4 modifying ordinnance no. 72/5, the judgment of the military court,
ordinnance no. 72/13 concerning state of emergency, ordinnance 72/6
concerning the organisation of the Supreme Court and law no. 76/28 modifying
this ordinnance, Decree no. 80/276 concerning the nomination of Secretary
Generals of Ministries and Decree no. 82/467 relating to the judiciairy.
 Article 56 of the African Charter reads:
"Communications...shall be considered if they:
5. Are sent after exhausting local remedies, if any, unless it is obvious
that this procedure is unduly prolonged..."
 In this case, the alleged victim petitioned the President of the
Republic in order to solicit his reinstatement as a magistrate. He then
submitted an out of court settlement to the Ministry of Justice. When no
response from the President or the Ministry was forthcoming the alleged
victim made a submission for a legal settlement to the Administrative
Chamber of the Supreme Court. He submitted further petitions to the Supreme
Court and seized the Ministry of Justice for reinstatement in his position.
In light of the above actions taken by the victim and their failure to yield
any results the Commission holds that local remedies have been duly
 Article 6 of the Charter reads:
"No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions
previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily
arrested or detained".
 In conformity with Article 65 of the Charter, the Commission cannot
pronounce on the equity of court proceedings that took place before the
African Charter entered into force in Cameroon on20 September 1989 (See the
Commission's decision on communication 59/91). If however irregularities in
the original sentence has consequences that constitute a continuing
violation of any of the Articles of the African Charter, the Commission must
pronounce on these.
 Mr. Mazou was held in prison after the expiration of his sentence in
April 1989 until 23 May 1990. After his release, he was placed under house
arrest. The delegation of Cameroon at the 20th session stated that:
"After serving his sentence he was released, but the problem is that he was
the subject of purely administrative measures based on existing laws at that
time. These laws were however abrogated only in 1989".
 All parties agree that Mr. Mazou was held beyond the expiry of his
sentence. No judgment was passed to extend his sentence. Therefore the
detention is arbitrary, and the Commission finds that this constitutes a
violation of Article 6.
 Article 7 of the African Charter reads:
"1. Every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard. This
(b) the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent
court or tribunal;
(d) the right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial court or
 Mr. Mazou has not yet had a judgment on his case brought before the
Supreme Court over 2 years ago, without being given any reason for the
delay. At the 20th session the delegation held that the case might be
decided upon by the end of October 1996, but still no news of it has been
forwarded to the Commission. Given that this case concerns Mr. Mazou's
ability to work in his profession, two years without any hearing or
projected trial date constitutes a violation of article7.1(d) of the African
 At the 20th session, the delegation of Cameroon stated that
"the administrative detention had not for its reason the fact that sentenced
Mazou, it was not linked to the trial. When the state believes that an
individual who is free can trouble public order we can take preventive
measures, and this explains why he was detained administratively. This can
be renewed at any time when the administrative authorities deem that there
is a risk and therefore they deem need of preventive measures".
 Detention on the mere suspect that an individual may cause problems is
a violation of his right to be presumed innocent.
 Article 15 of the African Charter reads:
"Every individual shall have the right to work under equitable and
 Article 2 of the Amnesty Law of 23 April 1992 reads:
"Have been amnestied: -All persons sentenced of subversion to penalty of
imprisonment and/or fined; -All persons sentenced a punishment of detention
or serving an penalty of detention; All persons authors of offences of a
political nature, condemned to death penalty."
 Article 3 of the Amnesty Law of 23 April 1992 reads:
".... the persons condemned who have been granted amnesty and who had public
employment will be reintegrated..."
 Still after the Amnesty Law of 23 April 1992, Mr. Mazou has been denied
reinstatement by the government in his former professional capacity as a
 The delegation of the government which appeared at the 20th session
claimed the reason to be that he is not covered by the Amnesty law of 23
April 1992, because he has not been judged of subversion or sentenced to
detention. It also stated that disciplinary action was taken against Mr.
Mazou because of his sentence".
 Although according to the delegation, Mr. Mazou was judged for an
ordinary criminal offence in Cameroon, he was still judged by a Military
Tribunal. The delegation answered the Commission's questions about this as
follows: "Why he was tried by a Military Tribunal? Everybody knows that when
you are involved in a problem which includes the attempt to violently, using
arms, overthrow a government and a president, then you are actually taking
actions in political acts, something of a political nature. The coup
plotters of 1984 were judged by the Military Tribunal and since Mr. Mazou
hid for some time a brother of his who was involved, then there was, there
could have been a connection between the coup attempt and the fact that Mr.
Mazou had accepted to hide his brother".
 To the Commission it still seems peculiar that Mr. Mazou was tried by a
Military Tribunal like the coup plotters and that afterwards he is not given
amnesty like them. The delegation promised to forward to the Commission the
written judgement of the Military Tribunal. This has not yet happened.
 The Commission finds that by not reinstating Mr. Mazou in his former
position after the Amnesty Law, the government has violated Article 15 of
the African Charter, because it has prevented Mr. Mazou to work in his
capacity of a magistrate even though others who have been condemned under
similar conditions have been reinstated.
 FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, THE COMMISSION declares the violations of
Articles 6, 7.1(b), 7.1(d) and 15; recommends that the government of
Cameroon draw all the necessary legal conclusions to reinstate the victim in
 Taken at the 21st Ordinary Session, Nouakchott, Mauritania, April 1997