May 15, 2018
There is a common saying that “Many cooks spoil the soup”. One is tempted to say of today’s Camerou(oo)n that “Many experts of international humanitarian law spoil the law”. And the case in point is the barrister guest of “Talking Point” on Equinox TV on May 14, 2018. He was introduced as a lawyer/expert of international law. And truly he ended up confounding the public and even ordinary lawyers that we are.
The politest way one can depict his expert utterances about international humanitarian law is that it was a heap of contradictions and evasive digression. One needs to listen to him again and again to be able to guess what exactly was the key point of his argument.
It seems he asserted that “Ambazonian soldiers” are not covered by the Third Geneva Convention relative to international humanitarian law (whatever that means). But it is abundantly clear to everyone with a sound mind and just some elementary legal knowledge that that instrument covers regular soldiers, MILITIA and even ordinary “civilians who accompany the armed forces”.
It would be abusive of the intelligence of the public to want to define the term MILITIA, especially in the African context where warlords are commonplace. But it seems salutary to mention that an essential aspect of the militia is their involvement in an armed struggle against the regular military… Need one say more?
It is in superfluity then to add that our expert barrister of international humanitarian law erred woefully in his reasoning; and erred even more in contending that the “Ambazonian soldiers” cannot be identified, and that they do not wear uniforms. Is he implying that the war was declared against ghosts/spirits? And do militia or “civilians who accompany the armed forces” wear uniforms? If yet they are covered by the instrument in question, what makes the case of “Ambazonian soldiers” so special/peculiar?
It is highly likely our barrister expert of international humanitarian law was referring to an instrument other than the Third Geneva Convention! That is the only possible conclusion when he relates EMBLEMS to human beings as he did. The Third Convention and the protocols do attach EMBLEMS exclusively to humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, and the Red Crystal. It takes extra-terrestrial configuration of conception to see otherwise; and ultra-finesse in intelligence to hold to the contrary…
On the whole, if one were bold enough, one would demand that Equinox TV invite their expert guest to appear again to clarify the legal mix-up after he must have reread the Third Geneva Convention and the protocols carefully/properly.
In the meantime, we ordinary lawyers firmly hold that the Third Geneva Convention covers the “Ambazonian soldiers”, and that stance seems least likely to admit of any reasoning à contrario; except of course there is some confidential/private Third Geneva Convention that tantalizes us at our lowly levels.
That’s our case!
Ayah Paul Abine