Malleus Maleficarum: Scrutinizing Sorcery in Cameroon

Ada Tchoukou, J. (2018). Malleus Maleficarum: Scrutinizing Sorcery in Cameroon. Journal of African Law, 1-18

14 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2018  

Julie Ada Tchoukou

University of Ottawa; McGill University, Institute of Comparative Law, Students; University of Cape Town (UCT), Faculty of Law, Students

Date Written: January 15, 2018

Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic research, this article reflects critically on the current involvement of the Cameroonian state in witchcraft accusations. Unlike other African states where witchcraft is connected to religion and culture and as such is far detached from economics and politics, post colonial Cameroon associates witchcraft and other occult practices with being a major factor in its slow economic development. The state resorted to criminal law in its attempts to eradicate the practice. Its penal code subjects persons accused of witchcraft to imprisonment for up to ten years. This provision has been subject to great criticism, as its application has led to a high conviction rate of indigenous Cameroonians. The aim of this article is not to determine the appropriateness of this approach, but to raise questions and shed light on the various inconsistencies with criminalizing a practice that arguably constitutes an underlying basis of indigenous Cameroonian cultural heritage.

Keywords: Customary law, Cameroon, Legal Pluralism, Witchcraft, Culture

Suggested Citation

Ada Tchoukou, Julie, Malleus Maleficarum: Scrutinizing Sorcery in Cameroon (January 15, 2018). Ada Tchoukou, J. (2018). Malleus Maleficarum: Scrutinizing Sorcery in Cameroon. Journal of African Law, 1-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3103967

Julie Ada Tchoukou (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa ( email )

Ottawa
Canada

McGill University, Institute of Comparative Law, Students ( email )

Montréal, H3A 0G4
Canada

University of Cape Town (UCT), Faculty of Law, Students ( email )

Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

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