The President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Edward Amoako Asante has called for cooperation of Member States in the implementation of the Court’s decisions.
He said the credibility of the Court would be adversely affected if Member States failed to execute its decisions.
“It is crystal clear that in order and to maintain the image of a viral independent regional Court, the Court must have the cooperation of member states.”
He said it would be counterproductive to render the Court ‘a toothless bull dog’ and appealed to all Member States for collaboration and support.
Justice Asante said this in an address at the opening ceremony of the external Court session of the Court in Abidjan.
The opening session was live-streamed, the first, since the Court began such sessions in 2007 in Bamako, Mali.
During the two-week external court session, the Court will hear 28 cases and deliver 11 judgements, mostly on alleged human rights violations.
Justice Asante urged political authorities of member states to fulfill treaty obligation by appointing competent National Authority to enforce the decisions of the Court.
Currently, only six countries Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo are in compliance with the treaty obligation by appointing the National Authority.
Justice Asante said it was imperative for the Court to collaborate with the national courts of member states in respect of the enforcement of its decisions.
“The jurisprudence of the Court has made it abundantly clear that we are not an appellate Court over the National Courts of Member States. We seek collaboration and not competition,” he said.
The President of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, said that the session, the first by the present college of judges since their assumption of duty in 2018, will also hear 40 other cases either virtually or physically.
The president explained that while court sessions were normally held at the seat of the court in Abuja, Article 26 (1) of the Protocol on the Court empowers it to sit in the territory of another Member State as dictated by the circumstances or facts of the case.
He said that such sessions allowed the Court to bring justice closer to the grassroots for the benefit of indigent citizens who could otherwise not afford the attendant cost of litigation in the seat of the court.
It will also provide an opportunity for citizens to observe the court in session, sensitize the public and engage with its stakeholders.
On the performance of the Court since its inception, Justice Asante said a total of 557 Initiating Applications have been lodged before the Court and it has delivered 130 Rulings and 290 judgements.
The Court has also registered 23 Applications for Revision of Judgements and delivered 23 Revision decisions and given four advisory opinions.
In total, the Court has held a 1191 Court sessions.
Justice Asante said that the opening and closing ceremonies of the two-week session will be the first in the history of the court to be livestreamed since the Court began such sessions in 2007 in Bamako, Mali.
The ECOWAS Court of Justice is the principal legal organ that guarantees a conducive legal order for the attainment of Community objectives and for the protection of the human rights of Community citizens.
Its mandate includes the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty, Protocols, Conventions, Supplementary Acts, Regulations, Directives, Decisions and all other instruments adopted within the ECOWAS framework.
It also gives advisory opinion to Member States and ECOWAS institutions.
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