Penal Code Bill: Committee Adjourns Scrutiny

Penal Code Bill: Committee Adjourns Scrutiny

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Members demanded more time to look at the bill presented by the Minister of Justice yesterday, June 14, 2016.

Members of the Constitutional Laws Committee meeting yesterday June 14, 2016 in the Mallam Yero Committee Room of the National Assembly, postponed the scrutiny of the bill relating to the Penal Code after its presentation by the Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, Laurent Esso. During the session chaired by the Committee’s President, Hon. Zondol Herssessé, the members felt that given the voluminous nature of the bill, they needed time to have knowledge of its content before exchanging with the Justice Minister.

Prior to the suspension of the sitting, Minister of State Laurent Esso had presented the bill, saying it came half a century after the promulgation of November 12, 1965 law and June 12, 1967 laws instituting the Penal Code. “The bill expresses government’s determination to protect general and individual interests,” he explained. Several groundbreaking innovations are contained in the bill’s two Criminal Law and Particular Crimes books, respectively. Thus, persons convicted of some of the offences punishable by maximum imprisonment term of two years or fines could instead have alternative sentences to imprisonment such as community service or reparatory sentence.

Government also thought it necessary to align the bill with some provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and include recent international trends in criminal matters as well as Cameroon’s commitments in criminal matters. Besides domesticating some international conventions ratified by Cameroon, the Particular Crimes book of the bill criminalises some behaviours such as the illegal sale of medication, renting fraud and the eviction of a spouse from the matrimonial home by any person other than the spouse of the victim, amongst others. Minister Laurent Esso was assisted by the Vice Prime Minister, Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Relations with the Assemblies, Amadou Ali.

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