Boko Haram has been present in Cameroon since 2009. Following armed confrontations between fighters and Nigerian security forces in Maiduguri, a number of fighters crossed the border and sought refuge in Cameroon’s Far North region. Over the following years, Boko Haram’s presence in Cameroon evolved dramatically. While at first, the armed group was rather passive, it started recruiting Cameroonians as fighters between 2011 and 2013 and used the Far North region as a safe haven.
The first armed confrontation registered between the armed group and state armed forces took place in March 2014. Between 2014 and 2016, Boko Haram started carrying out attacks against the armed forces and the civilian population, focusing in particular on abductions and kidnapping of foreigners and suicide bombing.
While the intensity of violence has diminished but it has not ceased in 2016 and 2017, fighting increased again in 2018 and has continued since then.
‘Both the intensity of the armed violence opposing the Cameroon armed forces and Boko Haram, as well as the level of organization of Boko Haram in Cameroon, allow us to conclude to the existence of a NIAC’ underlines Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
In a worrying development, vigilante groups have emerged to fight against Boko Haram in the Far North.
‘Our analysis – developed on our RULAC online portal – does not allow us to conclude that vigilante groups are a party to the conflict because they do not meet the organization requirement’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli.
Since late 2017, Cameroon’s armed forces, including an elite combat unit Rapid Intervention Battalion (RIB), have been involved in armed confrontations against a number of Anglophone separatist groups operating in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, in particular the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC) and its military wing (the Ambazonia Defense Forces, ADF) and the Interim Government of Ambazonia (IG) and its military wing (the Ambazonia Self-Defence Council, ASC).
‘While confrontations have increased since 2017, both the level of armed violence as well as the level of organization of the separatist groups do not meet the threshold required by IHL to consider this situation as a NIAC’ says Dr Chiara Redaelli.
Chantal Touma follows our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict online while working as Legal Adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross Legal Department in Damascus. In this interview, she tells about the programme, distance learning and what it brings to her career.
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This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides an introduction to the regime of sanctions under international law and their effectiveness in addressing contemporary forms of conflict. It addresses the questions related to state responsibility, the pacific settlement of international disputes and the role of the International Court of Justice.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will cover the ‘nuts and bolts’ of implementation, including national legislation, dissemination and training, and discuss the mechanisms such as the International Fact-Finding Commission, as set out in the treaties.
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This project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance for persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.