3 December 2018

Cameroon: Peace Operations - International Manual Presented in Yaounde

The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo chaired the Manual presentation and dedication ceremony on November 30, 2018.

Since Friday, November 30, 2018 actors involved in peace operations in Africa have a practical document that guides them on how to carry out the operations in respect of the rules on legal obligations and best practices. The document called the "Leuven Manual on the International Law Applicable to Peace Operations" was represented and dedicated during a ceremony at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel on November 30, 2018. It is produced by the Brussels, Belgium-based International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.

The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo chaired the book dedication ceremony. He said the manual for the entire African continent was launched at the Yaounde International War College in July 2015. This was during a seminar that served as an occasion to finalise the manual. The Minister said the choice of Cameroon to host the finalisation, presentation and dedication of the book was in recognition of the country's contribution in peacekeeping operations throughout the world. He said the application of the law is the base on which the professionalism of the army and other actors in peacekeeping operations is judged. Mr Beti Assomo extended the gratitude of Cameroon government to the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War for the choice of Cameroon and stated the commitment of President Paul Biya of Cameroon who is head of the army and police forces to ensure the participation of the country in peacekeeping operations.

The head of the delegation of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, Remy Jorritsma presented the 21-chapter manual. He said the book addresses all aspects of peace operations not just in the general sense focused on the United Nations but also looks at peace operations conducted by regional organisations such as the African Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "It is a unique book that has never been done before as it provides rules as to the legal obligations, as well as rules on best practices accompanied by some explanatory commentaries," Remy Jorritsma said. He added that, "It is not a purely academic book as it is supposed to be used by commanders on the field. It is practice- oriented." Concerning the African continent, the official said the manual tries to explain how the sub-regional organisations such as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) fit into the bigger organisation such as the African Union." It does not only focus on human rights but brings all legal aspects together including refugees, internally displaced persons, protection of children , protection against sexual abuse," he said.

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