The Judicial Fraternity Pays Respects to Deceased top-notch Magistrate
The judicial fraternity on Thursday 13th December, 2018, paid last respects to the Late Djeudjang Gabriel Louis. There tired super scale Magistrate -Group 1 slept in the Lord on 21st November, 2018, at La Pitié Hospital in Paris – France, following a long spell of illness.
Despair veiled the premises of the Supreme Court Thursday afternoon as the judicial corps in diverse ranks, together with the deceased’s family and sympathisers, converged to pay homage to the man who “worked out his entire life to better the justice system in Cameroon”, in the words of Supreme Court Chief Justice – Daniel Mekobe Sone. According to the Chief Justice, it was another fatal but understandable death blow to the judicial family as we live to die. Besides, the top-notch Magistrate had given virtually all during his nearly four-decade career.
Driven there by a hearse, the corpse was laid in state in the esplanade of the Supreme Court. Accompanied by solemnising dirges, and in well-known ranks, the judicial corps filed in like a brood of ducklings to render homage to the beacon. This exercise was proceeded by military honours from the gendarmerie.
The elegy of the host -Chief Justice Daniel Mekobe Sone was nothing short of an illustrious career built on hard-work, competence and unwavering loyalty to the Republic of Cameroon. Born in 1937 in Bazou – Ndé Division of the West Region of Cameroon, the fallen went on to bag a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Law.
He was integrated into magistracy in May 1965, and went on to occupy a series of positions. He was appointed State Counsel of Douala in 1965, Procureur General of Yaoundé in 1966, with a second spell in 1972. In 1970, he was transferred to Garoua in the same capacity of Procureur General.Three years later, he was called to the Ministry of Justice (MINJUSTICE) as Assistant Director of Legislation. One year later, he rose to the rank of Director of Legislation at MINJUSTICE. The deceased returned to the North as President of the Garoua Court of Appeal in 1980. In 1983 he shuttled back to Yaoundé to assume the post of Procureur General at the Supreme Court. In 1986, his services were once more needed at MINJUSTICE, this time around as Inspector General Number 1. In 1990, he was repositioned Inspector General Number 2 at MINJUSTICE. The legal mind also served as Technical Adviser to the Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon,among other positions.
Before retiring in April 2002, the Late Djeudjang Gabriel Louis’ hard-work had been maximally rewarded with numerous honours. Firstly, he was decorated Knight of the Order of Merit, then Knight of the Order of Valour, Officer of the Order of Valour, Commander of the Order of Valour, and Grand Officer of the Order of Valour.
The funeral rite was proceeded by conveyance of the corpse to the deceased’s residence behind Elig Essono – Yaoundé. A requiem Mass and vigil were observed later that same day. On Friday 14th December, 2018, the mortal remains were conveyed to Bazou, ahead of burial on Saturday 15th December, 2018. The late legal luminary follows his wife to the World beyond, leaving five children, his family and the judicial fraternity to mourn.
The Cameroonian judiciary, together with Regional Delegates of Penitentiary Administration, is set to weed out lingering mal-practices from its landscape, notably illegal detention. Contextually, illegal detention relates to abusive police custody and remand warrants. This was a fundamental objective at a two-day annual conclave of Heads of Courts of Appeal and Regional Delegates of Penitentiary Administration in Cameroon. As usual, the high-profile gathering that held in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Justice in Yaoundé, was presided at by the Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals – Laurent Esso. The justice boss was flanked by the First President of the Supreme Court, Daniel Mekobe Sone, the Procureur General of the said institution, Ndjodo Luc, the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Justice, Prof. Jean Pierre Fogui and the Secretary of State to the Minister of Justice in Charge of Penitentiary Administration, Doh Jerome Penbaga.
Minister Esso initiated his opening speech with a minute of silence in memory of late Mrs Essomba Josette Nicole Ripault, Inspector General of Judicial Services. In continuation, the Minister highlighted thus: “Our deliberations will therefore enable us focus on these important issues because the law has provided for the setting up of a Commission that can award financial compensation to the victims of illegal detention”. According to him, the main points of the gathering had not been chosen haphazardly, owing to the fact that: 1) the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya, is preoccupied with individual freedoms, and: 2) Cameroon being a signatory to international instruments obliging the protection of human rights.
The Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, hammered on the urgency to raise awareness among respective authorities, regarding police custodies and remands in custody. Such, in his view, would go a long way to ameliorate the status quo.
From Monday 10th to Tuesday 11th December, 2018, participants, among other issues, deliberated on modalities for the implementation of financial compensation to victims of illegal detention, given that the commission had been set up at the Supreme Court. Besides, the Procureur General at the Centre Court of Appeal, Ntamack Jean Fils Klébert, the President of the South West Court of Appeal Bechem Eyong Eneke and Inspector at the Inspectorate General of Judicial Services, Bongueno Jean Marie, took turns for presentations on the theme: “Illegal detention from abusive police custody and remand warrants: laws, state of affairs and possible preventive measures and remedies”. Mr Watchueng Jean Michel, Inspector General of Penitentiary Administration, rather zoomed on the role of Penitentiary Administration vis-à-vis the preceding subject.
At the end of discussions, participants were unanimous on the fact that illegal police custody and remands in custody, only result from violations of the law. During his closing remarks, Minister Laurent Esso admonished each and every one to meticulously apply pertinent provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. He urged stakeholders of the justice chain to ensure the scrupulous effectuation of conclusions once they return to their respective regions and jurisdictions. The recommendations underscored by the Minster included the rapid exchange of information between the courts and prison registries, and the intensification of controls of remand in police custody and remand in custody. In this light, actors would be expected to sensitise wielders of justice, prison warders, wardresses and concerned communities.
The 2018 annual assembly of Heads of Courts of Appeal and Regional Delegates of Penitentiary Administration was marked by the award of medals to outstanding workers across the board. The exercise happening for the first time on the side-lines of this meeting, was co-administered by the Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, the Minister Delegate and the Secretary of State in Charge of Penitentiary Administration. Seven persons were decorated with the Medal of the Order of Valour, nine were recipients of the Medal of the Cameroon Order of Merit, two were adorned with Order of Merit of the Public Force, while two others bagged the Medal of Honour of Work. This activity was spiced by an atmosphere of fanfare masterminded by playbacks and animation by some three Cameroonian musicians. This too was another innovation as far as the 2018 meeting of Heads of Courts of Appeal and Regional Delegates of Penitentiary Administration was concerned.
Shortly after the closing ceremony on Tuesday 11th December, and under an atmosphere of camaraderie, coordinated group photographs were taken. The gesture was aimed at immortalising the 2018 annual assembly of Heads of Courts of Appeal and Regional Delegates of Penitentiary Administration. The two-day conclave undoubtedly left observers with the impression that Cameroon’s Ministry of Justice is resolute in moving forward, and would stop at nothing, in rendering due justice to Cameroonians.
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