Brian Njume – AmbaNews24 Correspondent
The American Federal Court of Northern California recognized Ambazonia’s right to self-defence by dismissing Nsahlai Emmanuel’s claims that the Ambazonia Defense Forces (ADF) violate American law. Nsahlai Emmanuel, son Cameroon’s one-time minister of Transport and diehard supporter of Cameroon’s dictator brought charges against the Ambazonia Defenses Forces and their spokesperson alleging terrorism and other high crimes. Emmanuel alleged he represented at least 1000 families affected by the ongoing Ambazonian War of Independence pitching their deaths, injuries, business loss, and property loss to the Ambazonian Defenses Forces. Though the case centred principally around Tapang Ivo Tanku, the ADF’s outspoken spokesperson the court stated: “the Court wishes to clarify that it has not hereby declared or determined that anyone or entity is a ‘terrorist.”
Initially, Nsahali claimed to represent 1000 aggrieved American nationals who suffered losses but he would not identify these victims. Though the court authorized him to proceed in the case without naming the victims, the court, however, obliged him to release these names Curt Edmonson, Tapang and ADF’s lawyer in the case who demonstrated a high degree of professionalism by sticking to the facts, respecting the court’s time and deadlines, and using only the law to dismiss Nsahlai’s claims. This condition collapsed Nsahlai’s case, exposed his malign intentions, and established clear links with Cameroon. Cameroon’s government used Nsahlai (whose mother hails from the same village with Paul Biya) to initiate these lawsuits with the intention of corrupting the American judiciary. This strategy failed to prosper. Before giving a final judgement that buried the case on January 28, 2020, the Court had ruled on several of the charges on August 6, 2019.
Amongst the plethora of reasons, the court advanced for dismissing the case entirely, the court frowned at Emmanuel for wasting both the Court and Tapang’s time, lying to the court, refusing to present his 1000 witnesses, and for showing bad faith.
Why did Nsahlai lose the case?
The basic principle in Common Law is that “he who alleges must prove.” Nsahlai, therefore, had the responsibility to prove allegations linking Tapang Ivo and the ADF to terrorism. Unfortunately, neither Nsahlai nor his 1000 clients could prove the case. CPDM and Cameroon government officials boasted an international lawyer of repute will use American courts to frustrate the Ambazonian War of Independence, their case died because the American System proved so hard for them to understand.
The ADF and Tapang are not terrorists
Concerning Evidence, Nsahali relied on social media posts, videos, and online activity. In dismissing the social media posts as evidence, in this case, the Court said: “Plaintiffs do not show a direct relationship between Tapang’s acts and the alleged killings.” The Court further emphasized that “plaintiffs do not allege any specific conduct of Tapang that was the [direct] cause of their suffering and do not provide sufficient facts to describe the vaguely-referenced damages.” By these two statements, the Court clearly states that copying and pasting social media postings remains irrelevant in proving guilt. They must go further and demonstrate how, when, who, gave instructions and where. In a tone of surprise, the Court wondered at Nsahlai’s amateurism when he relied on “information and belief” instead of proving Tapang’s guilt. While Ambazonians have documented tons of evidence against Cameroon and their soldiers which clearly demonstrates these requirements, Cameroon cannot do the same for Ambazonia. America is fully conscious that Cameroon and her soldiers are committing these horrible crimes in Ambazonia. The American Congress, Department of State, and International Human Rights Organizations have irrefutable evidence to prove Cameroon’s leaders are guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.
Under United States law, a person or group can only be deemed terrorists if their actions of mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping occur only outside the USA, affect US Nationals, and happen during peace times, that is, outside of wartime. On these bases, the case against the ADF was bound to fail. So, accusing the ADF, Tapang, financial and moral supporters of the ADF of terrorism is lame and cannot stand any legal argument in the United because ADF is fighting a war declared by Paul Biya, and victims are not nationals of the USA. The American Federal Court has resolved this question once and for all. All claims against the ADF, their members, their supporters, and funders will fail in an American Court because the Ambazonian Defenses Forces are fighting a war against genocidal regime and the American government has severally recognized this as a war.
Lessons from this case
- The United States recognizes Ambazonia is at war
The case against the ADF and Ambazonia intended to kill the Ambazonian revolution, discourage Ambazonians from funding the ADF and supporting the revolution. The Court emphatically stated that supporting the ADF is not supporting terrorism. Only the executive branch of the United States through the Department of Homeland Security or Department of Justice can designate an individual or group as a terrorist. The United States government has rather accused Biya and his government of committing the most serious crimes under international law including crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. America’s sanctions against Cameroon stand to show for this. Examples include kicking Cameroon out of AGOA, terminating military and financial support to Cameroon for the crimes they are committing in Ambazonia.
Importantly, the United States recognized Ambazonians are an endangered people. When Tibor Nagy said some people close to Biya must be deceiving him that he can win this militarily, he surely recognized Ambazonians are simply fighting back. Unfortunately, for Biya and Nsahlai, Tibor Nagy recognized Ambazonians are simply reacting to their crimes against Ambazonia by fighting in self-defence. On February 4, 2020, President Trump re-echoed his believe in the right to self-defence. The United States, therefore, recognizes that peoples threatened by the use of firearms have a God-given right to fight back, raise money to support the fightback, and find protection under the law.
- Supporting the ADF is supporting the Right to Self-Defense
The ADF has distinguished itself as the lone Ambazonian force with clearly laid down rules and command structure. Under International Humanitarian Law, parties to an armed conflict must have a clear hierarchy, identification, and control territory. Following the October 1, 2019, Ambazonian Independence Day celebrations, the ADF controls swaths of territory and the two other factors weigh in support of its recognition as an actor in the Ambazonian War of Independence. The technique of attributing terrorism charges on the ADF backfired because the ADF carefully plans and surgically executes its operations. In this light, the ADF is clearly a party to the Armed Conflict and cannot be tagged a terrorist organization or be tried for acts resulting from the conduct of the war.
Nsahlai’s frustrations mount
After the Court kicked out his complaint accusing the ADF of terrorism, Nsahlai has resorted to blackmailing United States Department of Justice, Department of Treasury, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Department of Homeland Security. In a February 7, 2020, press release, Nsahlai claims the “FBI and DOJ fail to follow mandates to prevent terrorists living within the USA from killing thousands.” In his original complaint filed in 2018, he asserted that “Tapang is a terrorist of the highest order.” In court proceedings, a lawyer worth the salt states the facts, presents his evidence, and calls witnesses to testify in order to prove a point. But most importantly, the lawyer first identifies the right jurisdiction to receive his complaint. By starting with the Courts Nsahlai demonstrated pure amateurism and lack of legal knowledge. Secondly, by declaring before court hearings that Tapang is a terrorist of the highest order, that is, taking the court’s place or the adjudicating officer’s place, Nsahlai demonstrated his pettiness and poor knowledge of the legal procedure. One wonders why they would care about blackmailing the United States government whereas they already passed judgement.
As Nsahlai multiplies insists on abusing United States Courts, Ambazonians must remind him that “forum shopping” is a solid ground for him to lose his license. The State of California where Nsahlai is licensed to practice is very rigorously merciless when lawyers abuse the court and waste opposing lawyers’ time. In the case against the ADF, the Court sanctioned Nsahlai to pay the ADF and their lawyer 5.000 US Dollars for wasting their time. Conjuring more cases and wasting their time in several courts will definitely result in more sanctions against Nsahlai and his subsequent dismissal from the bar association. The ADF has an option of filing holding Nsahlai guilty of filing Strategic Law Suits Against Public Participation. If Nsahlai isn’t aware then he should know California is very unfriendly to lawyers who waste the Court’s time trying to silence activists. From the long and short of it, Nshalai cannot win any suit against an Ambazonian activist in the United States.