June 15, 2024

ECOWAS Judicial Council tackles enforcement challenges, future of community Court of Justice


The ECOWAS Judicial Council convened a critical meeting to address persistent challenges in the execution of judgments by the Community Court of Justice, with a strong focus on improving the court’s functioning and its impact on the region’s citizens.

In her opening remarks, Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mrs. Damtien Larbli Tchintchibidja, highlighted the ongoing issue of enforcing the court’s decisions, a fundamental aspect of the judicial institution’s mandate. Speaking on behalf of the Commission’s President, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, she emphasized the need for national judicial institutions to play a more active role in this process, as outlined in the court’s additional protocol.

“The time has come to take deliberate steps to meet this challenge,” said Mrs. Tchintchibidja. She underscored the judiciary’s vital role in conflict prevention and the promotion of the rule of law and human rights, advocating for more frequent meetings of the Judicial Council to provide continuous oversight and guidance to the court.

Expressing gratitude to the Council members for their support, Mrs. Tchintchibidja acknowledged the court’s reputation as a trusted resource for ECOWAS institutions, individuals, entities, and governments seeking arbitration and legal decisions. She called for a renewed commitment to ensuring the court’s activities align with the highest standards of judicial conduct, including independence, impartiality, integrity, competence, and diligence.

The President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Honourable Justice Edward Amoako Asante, reiterated the court’s role as a beacon of hope in West Africa, providing a platform for conflict resolution and human rights protection. “Our commitment to uphold the principles prescribed in the ECOWAS Treaty remains firm, guiding us towards a more just and equitable society in West Africa,” he stated.

Echoing this sentiment, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and President of the ECOWAS Judicial Council, Honourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, stressed the collective responsibility to uphold justice, rule of law, and the pursuit of peace and prosperity for the region’s millions of citizens. “I am convinced that our collective efforts will continue to shape the future of justice in our region,” he affirmed.

The statutory meeting aims to act on recommendations from two committees established during the Council’s last meeting in February 2024. The first committee is tasked with proposing solutions to enforcement challenges facing the court, while the second focuses on reviewing the Council’s rules and procedures to enhance its effective functioning.

This concerted effort by ECOWAS leaders reflects a strong commitment to strengthening judicial processes and ensuring that the Community Court of Justice can effectively fulfill its role in upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights across West Africa.

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