US diplomat appeals for ICC investigation over mass killings in NW, SW

By Mua Patrick Mughe in Yaounde

Erstwhile United States Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State in charge of African Affairs, Herman Cohen, has prayed the International Criminal Court, ICC, to urgently investigate the Biya regime for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the troubled Anglophone regions.

The former US top official took to social media during the week to launch the appeal following the brutal killings of over 30 persons including pregnant women and children in the locality of Ngarbuh in Donga Mantung division.

“In the wake of this massacre of civilian women and children in Northwest Cameroon’s Ntumbaw-Ngarbuh village, I call on the International Criminal Court to investigate Paul Biya’s regime for crimes against humanity,” the diplomat wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time Herman Cohen was taking the Biya regime to task over human rights violations committed in the restive Anglophone regions.

He has repeatedly called for frank and genuine dialogue to end the armed conflict.

His outing Wednesday on twitter came same day the US in Yaounde had condemned the attack in Ngarbuh at the weekend that led to the death of civilians including women and children.

In the outing, the US embassy officials urged government to authorise an independent investigation to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“We condemn the killings of civilians in Ngarbuh, Northwest Region, and offer condolences to the victims’ families. We call on the government to authorize an independent investigation, ensure safety of witnesses, and bring perpetrators to justice. The violence must stop,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Commonwealth had strongly condemned the recent killings in Ngarbuh.

In a statement, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said “I strongly condemn the recent killings of civilians, including women and children in the North-West of Cameroon on 14 February 2020”.

“We noted the Government announcement that there would be a full investigation into the incident. We encourage the Government to conduct an impartial investigation, for perpetrators to be held accountable and for results to be made public,” she added ,saying “The Commonwealth strongly condemns all forms of violence, and in particular, the loss of lives of innocent civilians including women and children”.

“Cameroon is a noted member of the Human Rights Council and as such we are minded of General Comment 13 to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to freedom from all forms of violence which is underscored by the understanding that no violence against children is justifiable, all violence against children is preventable. I continue to convey these concerns to the Government of Cameroon, and the Commonwealth stands ready to support solutions that will address the root causes of this conflict,” she concluded.