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Cameroon has dedicated terrorism legislation enacted in 2014, but which has been widely criticized for its chilling effect on freedom of expression and the work of journalists and civil society. The mandatory death penalty, a violation of fundamental human rights, is prescribed for acts of terrorism and for training terrorists.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The 2014 Law on Repression of Acts of Terrorism defines terrorism as follows:

Whoever, acting alone as an accomplice or accessory, commits or threatens to commit an act likely to cause death, endanger physical integrity, cause bodily injury or material damage, destroy natural resources, the environment or cultural heritage with intent to:

a. Intimidate the public, provoke a situation of terror or force the victim, the government and/or a national or international organisation to carry out or refrain from carrying out an act, adopt or renounce a particular position;

b. Disrupt the normal functioning of public services, the delivery of essential services to the public to create a crisis situation among the public;

c. Create widespread insurrection in the country;

d. Shall be punished with the death penalty.S. 2, 2014 Law on Repression of Acts of Terrorism.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Cameroon has adhered to most of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party


Cameroon has adhered to the two African Union treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State Party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

As set out above, the mandatory death penalty is prescribed for acts of terrorism under the 2014 Law.S.2, 2014 Law on Repression of Acts of Terrorism.The mandatory death penalty is itself a violation of human rights law, including the right to life, as it fails to allow for an appeal against sentence or to tailor sentence to the circumstances of a convicted person or to their role in a criminal offence. An accessory is subject to the same penalty as the perpetrator.

In 2015, Radio France Internationale correspondent Ahmed Abba was charged and convicted by a military tribunal of “non-denunciation of terrorism” and “laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts.” He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. This is one instance of a broader concern about the chilling effect of the law.Jean-Claude N. Ashukem, "To give a dog a bad name to kill it – Cameroon’s anti-terrorism law as a strategic framework for human rights’ violations", Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1 (2021), pp. 119-34.The criminal offence of “defending terrorism” in spoken or written word is punishable by 15 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of 25 million to 50 million CFA francs. In an interview for Radio France Internationale on 12 December 2014, communication minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary had dismissed civil society’s concerns about the law’s impact on the media and freespeech, insisting that “there is no possibility of political demonstrations being confused with actions of a terrorist nature”.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

Cameroon's armed forces and its police are both responsible for counterterrorism operations. 


2014 Law on Repression of Acts of Terrorism (English and French versions)