The death of Cameroon’s fine opposition leader and legal colossus of the highest standing, Barrister Bernard Acho Muna, has been confirmed. The Bartonier who served as chair of international anti-corruption conference council and founded the Alliance for Progressive Forces political party passed away on Sunday October 6, 2019. He was 79.
Ben Muna, as he was fondly called, died at the Yaounde General Hospital where he had been receiving treatment following a malaise.
The former president of Cameroon’s Bar Association and 2011 presidential candidate who fell to incumbent, President Paul Biya before his demise had been missing from public life.
Following the announcement of his passing, friends, family, colleagues and sympathizers doled out messages of sympathy describing him as “one among many”.
Born on May 27, 1940 in Kumbo of the North West region, Bernard Muna served as Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 1997 to 2002.
He was admitted to the English Bar in 1966, becoming State Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General, with responsibility for the prosecution of all criminal cases in the Federated State of West Cameroon.
In 1969, he was named magistrate in Bamenda and Chief Prosecutor for North West Province in 1971. He decided to resign from the Public Bar to enroll at the Bar of the Federated State of West Cameroon, establishing his practice in Buea.
Muna was elected President of the Cameroon Bar Association in May 1986, a position he retained until 1992.
He was then named United Nations Country Rapporteur for penal reform and crime prevention in 1987, and elected President of the newly created Central African Lawyers Union, UNAAC.
Bernard Muna was appointed Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on 29 April 1997. He retained this position until December 2002.
In 2013, Bernard Muna was appointed by the UN Secretary General to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the situation in the Central African Republic.
He is widely celebrated in Cameroon for providing pro bono legal representation to hundreds among them, journalists, political leaders, activists and students among others.