As the curtains were pulled over the last session of the Higher Judicial Council Wednesday June 7 at the Unity Palace, the echoes of the Anglophone crisis appeared to have made an impact with the appointment of the first Anglophone since independence into the Judicial Chamber of the Supreme Court. The coming of Epuli Mathias Aloh into the limelight also heralded the departure of Ayah Paul Abine who was shown the door into senior citizenship. His appointment comes 17 years after mounting the podium into the Supreme Court, though he has been at the National Anti Corruption Commission (CONAC) since 2011.
The session that was chaired by the Head of State, Paul Biya and with Justice Minister and Keeper of the Seal, Laurent Esso as Vice President also examined the files of some seven magistrates with disciplinary issues, the promotion and absorption of recent graduates from the School of Administration and Magistracy ENAM, promotion in the ministry of justice and appointments into some courts across the country
Beside retiring Ayah Paul, the council also sanctioned the retirement of some Heavyweights of the magistracy like the long serving Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, Georges Gwanmessia, and former Minister Achuo Egbe. The Council also reportedly tried to ensure that only magistrates with a good mastery of English language and the Common Law were sent to the Northwest and Southwest regions
Some of the major decisions taken at the council meeting included the appointment of Emmanuel Ndjere as head of the Special Criminal Tribunal (SCT) as he vacates his position at the Star Building where he has been for the past 19 years, while Yap Abdou former head of the SCT moves up to the Supreme Court as Advocate General in place of Ayah Paul Abine sent on retirement.
National expectation was high with the holding of the Higher Judicial Council, a day after the Yaounde Military Tribunal had rejected an appeal for bail for the detained Anglophone leaders. The ominous task was on the Higher Judicial Council to make a final decision, grant clemency to the detained leaders or proposed lasting solution to the ongoing crisis. The meeting passed beside the issue, leaving the situation more or less the same.
The Higher Judicial Council is made up of President Paul Biya as President of the Council, Laurent Esso, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals as vice President, Jean Fouman Akame as Secretary and as members: Barnabe Eloundou, Pierre Laoussou, Albert Ekono Nna, Marc Ateba Ombala, Isaac Manga Moukouri, Brigitte Mebande epse Abdoul Bagui and Fofung Justine Nabum epse Wacka.
By Ndi Tsembom Elvis