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Legal System of Cameroon

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Law of Cameroon

The Constitution of Cameroon is the supreme law of the Republic of Cameroon. The document consists of a preamble and 13 Parts, each divided into Articles. The Constitution outlines the rights guaranteed to Cameroonian citizens, the symbols and official institutions of the country, the structure and functions of government, the procedure by which the Constitution may be amended, and the process by which the provisions of the Constitution are to be implemented.

Cameroon adopted its earliest Constitution upon independence from France in 1960. This was a hurried draft based closely on French precedents. In 1961, British Southern Cameroons gained its independence and voted to join its French counterpart. Delegates framed a new Constitution, which made Cameroon a federation of two states under a single powerful president. In 1972, President Ahmadou Ahidjo pushed through a new document that abolished the federal system, renamed the country the Unitary Republic of Cameroon, and granted the president greater powers. After assuming the presidency, Paul Biya pushed through a revised Constitution in 1984. This document changed the country's name to the Republic of Cameroon, redrew the lines of the provinces, and redefined the line of succession to the presidency. The current Constitution was adopted in 1996 in response to pressure from Anglophone Cameroonian groups advocating a return to the federal system. It grants greater autonomy to the provinces (renamed regions) and established a Senate as the upper house to the National Assembly. Nevertheless, none of these provisions has been implemented.