CONFLICT BETWEEN CUSTOMARY LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN CAMEROON: THE ROLE OF THE COURTS IN FOSTERING AN EQUITABLY GENDERED SOCIETYCONFLICT BETWEEN CUSTOMARY LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN CAMEROON: THE ROLE OF THE COURTS IN FOSTERING AN EQUITABLY GENDERED SOCIETYAA10626444
100 , 2015-06 , The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Cameroon's legal system is partly a product of colonialism. Colonialism resulted in the imposition of extraneous legal values in the territory. In addition to those values, customary law and human rights are also recognized. Cameroon's legal system thus consists of a mosaic of rules. Among those rules, customary law and human rights have a problematic relationship because many of their values conflict. Some customary values offend human rights and adversely affect the status of women. Although attempts have been made through the legislative process to eradicate discriminatory customary values, in practical terms, little or no success has been achieved. Consequently, the courts have assumed the role of ensuring that customary law responds to the dictates of human rights through the adoption of an egalitarian jurisprudence in the application of customary law. The courts rarely expressly use the language of human rights in the determination of cases; however, by applying the repugnancy test, the courts have at least inadvertently introduced the language of human rights into their jurisprudence. The courts' gender-sensitive approach in the enforcement of customary law has an impact on women's rights. This article suggests that the work of the courts should be complemented by other gender-based initiatives.