ECOWAS Court: Member States Requires New Approach To Enforce Judgements

03 Apr 2022
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Mr Justice Edward Amoako Asante, President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice has stressed the need for the court and Member States to fashion out a new approach in enforcing the court’s judgements.

Currently enforcement of the judgement of the ECOWAS Court has been a big bane with the court recording about 30 per cent enforcement of its judgements.

The President of the ECOWAS Court was speaking at the closing ceremony of the Court's 11th external sitting held in Accra, said notwithstanding the provisions of methods of enforcement of the decisions of the court in the Protocols as amended, the compliance rate with judgements remained unsatisfactory.

He said it was important that ECOWAS relies on the national courts for the enforcement of decisions because both courts represent the "cornerstone of the community's legal order and they create the enabling legal environment for the attainment of the objectives of the community.

The external sitting which started on March 21 and ended on April 1, 2022, constituted an egalitarian activity of the court designed to among others, bring justice closer to the people: expose lawyers in member states and engage stakeholders of the court.

It also affords an opportunity to engage the national courts of member states in achieving the full intent of the Communities integration process. 

Justice Asante said Article 24 (3) of the Supplementary Protocol of the court provides that each member state should appoint a National Authority for the purpose of reception and processing of execution o judgements.

According to him "only six members have complied.... this poses a challenge for the enforcement of the judgements of the court.

However, it is noteworthy that some countries that are yet to appoint national authorities have complied with decisions and judgements of the court."

According to the President of the Court, "No Member State has communicated to the court the status of decisions and judgements complied with so far. However, the court has been able to get unofficial information from lawyers and parties involved in some cases."

He said enforcement of the court’s judgements would require close collaboration with national courts and institutions of member states as well as fashion out a workable formula that would respond to the procedures of the court.

Justice Asante said the Accra sitting had achieved 90 per cent success as it was able to deliver 20 judgements.

He recounted that the 20 judgements were the highest so far in the history of the court as it previously gave out only 11 judgements during its sittings.




"We are happy to announce that our external court sitting in Accra achieved over 90 per cent success rate. This is no mean achievement and ought to be celebrated as part of the progress in entrenching the activities and impact of the court in the community."

The President of the court noted that 38 cases including human right violations were also heard during the external sitting in Accra.

Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah said Ghana was proud to be part of the historic sessions of the court and urged Member States to seriously consider proposals to extend the mandate of judges and increase the number of judges so that the court could have the capacity to address more cases.

Chief Justice Yeboah reiterated the need for member states to respect and abide by the rulings of the Court.

"There is no court that can survive the disinterest of the people over whom it has jurisdiction. The very principle that informs the need for our national courts also requires us to have sub-regional courts as a partner step to closer interaction between states that will bring us shared prosperity, peace and progress," he added.

The ECOWAS Court presented various picture frames to staff of Ghana's Judicial Services for their hard work.

Ghana's Judiciary also presented various gifts to the Judges of the ECOWAS Court.

The ECOWAS Court was established through the instrumentality of the provisions of Article 6 and 15 of the Revised Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States.

The Court has four clear distinct mandates as a Community Court, an administrative and human rights court, and an arbitration tribunal.





Source: GNA

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