Law News
ECOWAS Court Judges call for amendment of community law

JUDGES of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice have called for amendment of the Community law which makes provision for the enforcement of its decisions to eliminate the bottlenecks militating against the effectiveness of the Court as the regional authority.

The same law, makes provision for the interpretation of the Community’s texts and the protection of the human rights of citizens.

At the end of their inaugural retreat in Calabar, Nigeria, the judges expressed concern that most Member States have not designated the national authority for the enforcement of the decisions of the Court as required under the Article, recalling the obligation of the States under Article 89 of the ECOWAS revised treaty to comply with the decisions of the Community, a reaffirmation of an internationally-acknowledged legal principle.

A statement made available to The Guardian noted that the judges also suggested the convening of the meeting of the regions’ legal experts during the first quarter of 2015 to examine the draft rules of arbitration submitted to the ECOWAS Commission which has responsibility for convening the body as the first step towards its approval by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers. The draft rules were developed by the Court and submitted to the Commission since 2011 to initiate the process for its adoption by the Council.

The seven member court will double as the regional arbitration tribunal during an interim period prior to the establishment of tribunal.

Furthermore, they called for the constitution of a tribunal to undertake the harmonisation and amendment of the texts of the Court in order to eliminate some discrepancies while an organogram that reflects the specificities of the Court should be proposed as part of the ongoing process of institutional reform of the ECOWAS Commission and institutions of the Community.

The two day retreat suggested the establishment of a monitoring committee to propose a successor strategic plan for the Court for the next five years 2015-2020.

The judges retreat, the third in the series organised by the Court over eight days, enabled some officials of the court to brief the judges on some critical issues including the strategic plan adopted by their predecessors in 2013, efforts towards the harmonisation of its texts relating to the court as initiated by the pioneer judges, the proposed guidelines for judgments, the organogram of the court and proposed solutions to the problem of the enforcement of its decisions.

It was preceded by that on administrative and budgetary issues followed by that for judicial officers of the Court comprising the judges, their assistants, the chief registrar as well as registry and legal staff.

Some 55 staff of the Court participated in the retreat whose theme Jurisprudence of ECOWAS Court of Justice; 2004-2014 enabled the judges to be apprised of the jurisprudence heritage of the court over its initial 10 years during which it delivered 185 decisions including 82 rulings, 86 judgements, 14 review decisions and three advisory opinions.


Click here to read from source.