Before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Following the rules of procedure under the ECOSOC Resolution 1503 Procedure, not only do Applicants have no access to Respondent Government’s submissions but they equally have no right of audience before the Sub-Commission, a right reserved only to States party to the United Nations Charter. However, by inference from the letter dated 18 July 2002 from the Governor of the South West Province to the BLCC (which letter was written on instructions from Respondent’s Minister of External Relations), it would appear that Respondent made two critical assertions before the U.N. Sub-Commission on the basis of which that body concluded that the complaint before it was premature.
Respondent’s first assertion was that there were domestic remedies which Complainants had not availed themselves of; and second, that there was on-going dialogue between the parties with a view to reaching an amicable settlement of the dispute “once and for all.”
Complainants believe that Respondent has no intention of resolving the Bakweri land problem amicably and has simply latched on to this stratagem to buy precious time to shop around for suitable buyers for the remaining CDC plantations. See Response of the Bakweri Land Claims Committee to the Reply Presented by the Government of Cameroon on the Exhaustion of Local Remedies, August 22, 2003, Section 2.2.1, at page 15. One fact is certain, the longer it takes to reach a decision on admissibility which would then pave the way for an expeditious exploration of the merits of this case, what is left of Bakweri ancestral lands under CDC occupation would have been alienated to foreign interests without their consent and without any compensation.