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71Legal SystemGENERAL PRINCIPLESWith its independence dedicated right from the Constitution, the judicial power is exercised in Cameroon by the Supreme Court, courts of appeal, and tribunals.Paragraph 2 of Article 37 of the Constitution dis- poses in particular that the judges are answera- ble to the law and to their conscience while exer- cising their judicial functions. Guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, the President of the Republic appoints judges.In this mission, he is assisted by the Superior Council of Magistracy which gives its opinion on proposals for appointments and disciplinary sanctions for judges.The Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals is the Vice-Chairman of the Higher Judicial Council while a senior judge is the secretary.The Higher Judicial Council is composed as fol- lows: three personalities appointed by the National Assembly, three personalities designa- ted by the Supreme Court and a personality appointed by the President of the Republic. The term of office of members is five years.PRINCIPLES OF THE JUDICIARYIn its preamble, the Cameroon Constitution solemnly affirms the main principles of the natio- nal judicial system.EQUALITY BEFORE THE COURTThe law guarantees everyone the right to obtain justice. Because the human being, regardless of race, religion, sex, belief possesses inalienable and sacred rights.All men are equal in rights and duties. No one may be harassed because of his origins, opi- nions and beliefs in religious, philosophical or political matters, subject to respect for public order and morality.NON-RETROACTIVE CHARACTER OF LAWSThe law cannot be retroactive. No one may be tried and punished by virtue of a law enacted and published before the offence committed.THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCEEvery defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty during a hearing conducted in strict observance of the rights of defense.LES ATOUTS ECONOMIQUES DU CAMEROUN

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