Cameroon Had no Locus Standi in The Claim Over Ownership of Bakassi

In Breaking News, Reports

by crossriverwatch admin

The decision of President Jonathan that Nigeria will apply to the International Court of Justice to revise its judgment in the case of Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Equatorial Guinea Intervening) delivered on the 10th October, 2002 which awarded the sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula on the Republic of Cameroon is highly commendable.

However an entirely new dimension was added to the controversy when there were media report to the fact that a top ranking member of the Jonathan’s administration who was given the responsibility of coordinating the efforts of the country to apply for a review of the judgment was dragging his feet and therefore frustrating the presidential directive on the alleged ground that there is no new fact discovered that can be argued in order to sway the ICJ to set aside its judgment of 10/10/2012.

This is worrisome in view of the fact that the 10 yeas window allowed by the Statute of ICJ for an application for revision of its judgment will expired on the midnight of 9th October, 2012.

One of the new facts discovered since 10/10/2012 when the Judgment was delivered is the claim of Cameroon to ownership of Bakassi based on the merger in 1961 between Republic of Cameroon and Southern Cameroon is false and had no legal foundation in international law. Southern Cameroon was never part of French Cameroon. These were two distinctive territories and entities.

French Cameroon was colonised by the French while Southern Cameroon was initially colonised by the German. German lost Southern Cameroon at the end of the First World War and it then came under the United Nations Trustee ship. The United Nations man dated the United Kingdom to administer Southern Cameroon on its behalf. The territory that gained independence from the French on the 1st January 1960 known and called La Du Republic of Cameroon was the French Cameroon.

In other words when the Republic of Cameroon gained independence in 1960, Southern Cameroon including Bakassi was never part of the Republic of Cameroon. The country that was admitted to the United Nations on the 30th September 1960 was the French Cameroon. In 1961 the French and British Southern Cameroon purportedly merged to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.

However the agreement between Republic of Cameroon and Southern Cameroon forming one country was never registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations as required by Article. 1 and Article 102 subsections 1 and 2 of the United Nations Chapter. The purport of Article 102 subsections of the United Nations Chapter is that all international treaties and agreements must be registered by the Office of Legal Affairs-Treaty Section at the Secretariat of the United Nations.

For the avoidance of any doubt it is necessary to reproduce Article 102 subsections 1 & 2 of the United Nations Chapter thus:

1.”Every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member of the United Nations after the present Charter comes into force shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it.

2.No party to any such treaty or international agreement which has not been registered in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations”

Further Article 1 subsections of the United Nations Chapter provides also as follows:

1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends”

It well settled that the provisions of a statute must be read together to infer the intention of the legislature. It follows that the provisions of Article 1 and Article 102 subsections 1 & 2 of the United Nations Chapter must be read as a whole to infer the intention of the legislature.

The implication of Article 102 of the Nations Chapter is as follows

· Each Member State: Must register all international treaties/agreements;

· United Nations Secretariat must publish all international treaties/agreements.

There is no such treaty in the Secretariat of the United Nations showing that Republic of Cameroon merged with Southern Cameroon in 1961. The referendum held in 1961 was to decide whether the people of Southern Cameroon want to be part of Nigeria or remain citizens of Southern Cameroon (not Republic of Cameroon).

The implication of the above is the country that was admitted into the United Nations and has the status of a State Party to avail itself of the jurisdiction of the ICJ is the Republic of Cameroon (French Cameroon). It follows therefore that Cameroon cannot claim ownership of Bakassi if we concede that Bakassi belong to Southern Cameroon. The implication is that Cameroon has no locus standi to sue Nigeria claiming ownership of Bakassi. Cameroon has no maritime Boundary with Nigeria before the ICJ. The territory that had maritime boundary with Nigeria was Southern Cameroon.

La Republic of Cameron has no locus standi to have sued Nigeria in 1994 when she instituted the Land and Maritime Boundary case against Nigeria in the International Court of Justice. It follows that Cameroon obtained the judgment against Nigeria over Bakassi under false pretences of ownership of Bakassi.

In law before a Plaintiff can be allowed to invoke the jurisdiction of a Court he must show that his interest has been prejudiced or he has suffered an injury which is above and above that of the whole community. So all what Nigeria need to do is to raise a Preliminary Objection to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to hear and determine the case instituted by Cameroon against Nigeria. This will surely knocked the bottom out of Cameroon’s case.

Okoi Obono-Obla

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