U.S Department of State Victimizes Victims of Extrajudicial Killings by CameroUn’s Soldiers
The statement (dated 16 July 2018) from the United States Department of State on the horrific caught-on-camera extrajudicial executions of two women and their two children in northern Cameroons is outrageously generous in its offer of lame excuses. The statement victimizes the victims of these executions and others ongoing in the Cameroons all over again. Most shamefully and glaringly, the drafters of this statement seem bent on suggesting what looks like possible escape routes and a “get out of the embarrassment” plan benefitting the evil Biya regime and, sadly, offering nothing to the thousands of victims of such executions in the Cameroons.
Anyone who was truly revolted by the atrocity depicted by the execution of the two women and two children… Anyone who truly cares for the thousands of victims of extrajudicial executions by the Biya regime should call out the State Department for the following four shortcomings:
First, the drafters cause the State Department to assume and play the role of Pontus Pilate in this whole affair. The same Department whose representative on the ground (Ambassador Peter Henry Balerin) decried “targeted killings” and which is in a position to know better than anyone else (except the Biya regime) feigns lack of knowledge. This is the State Department of the country with access to the most efficient satellite imagery possible and which should know better than any experts Amnesty International can ever hire. This is the country whose special forces train, and whose taxpayers equip and fund BIR whose members perpetrated these extrajudicial executions. Yet, the drafters of this statement want anyone reading their statement to know that they are merely citing allegations made by the “international media, Amnesty International, and Cameroonian human rights organizations”. It is a disgrace that the State Department cannot boldly denounce this atrocity and others in its own name. Has the Biya regime successfully bullied some at the Syate Department into playing Pontus Pilate on a “life and death” matter of such importance?
Second, the drafters do not seem to wish any scrutiny to befall the Biya regime. That has to be why they choose, in the statement, to invite “the Government of Cameroon to investigate thoroughly and transparently the events depicted in the video”. Talk of setting the thief to catch a thief! Don’t we all know how that works! Victims are, indeed, on their own if even the U.S. State Department has become such an accomplice of barbarians like those who staff the Biya regime. Is the State Department unable or just unwilling to call for an independent investigation of these and other atrocity crimes in the Cameroons? Would the drafters of this statement at the Department of State also recommend the Trump Administration to investigate itself over something like Russia’s meddling in American elections when – as with the Biya regime – the administration calls the events “fake news”?
Third, and whereas by the time the State Department statement was published it had already long been proven beyond any reasonable doubt (including through photographic evidence, GPS coordinates and satellite imagery) that the atrocity had been perpetrated by soldiers of the Biya regime, the drafters of this statement seem to be using it to plant or resurrect doubts in the mind of the universal public on who the “guilty until proven guilty” party is. The statement still manages to insert conditional wordings like “… if Cameroonian military personnel were involved in this atrocity…” Did you say IF? Really? Well, let me try my hand at the same trick “…if the State Department is getting in bed with the Biya regime against victims of rights violations, war crimes and atrocity crimes, could they be so kind as to let us know not to count on their principles position in defense of victims… please!
Fourth, the Department of State pleads for the Government of Cameroon… in the extraordinary and unfortunate situation where their soldiers might have been involved, to “hold them accountable”. Sorry to say this as bluntly as this, but the State Department should know better. Those who must be held accountable for these and other atrocity crimes in the Cameroons are the Biya regime beginning with the person at the helm, Mr. Biya himself. It is the regime that orders, turns a blind eye to, grants immunity and offers impunity to perpetrators of such crimes. It is the regime that, in an official statement, pledged to and is treating all Ambazonians who did not flee their villages as terrorists! No less! Those who must be held accountable are the regime of Mr. Biya and those across the American Government, who in possible violation of the Leahy Law, and definitely in violation of international treaty obligations of the United States, continue to fund, train and equip the savages who commit these war crimes, atrocity crimes and crimes against humanity.
By refusing to speak out forcefully in denunciation of these crimes, this statement by the State Department constitutes proof that even the United States is, sadly, failing to “uphold their international and national commitments and obligations” to “protect human rights” and “promote accountability”. It is such failure that has left the State Department unable to reaffirm the YES vote by the USA and 63 other countries in favor of the independence of Southern Cameroons on 21 April 1961. It is such failure that has hundreds of thousands of women and children including infants and newborns living and dying in the forests and bushes of Ambazonia. Surely, the U.S. Department of State can do better than issuing a statement that comforts tyrants like Biya and offers excuses for atrocity crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert (Yindo Toh)