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ECCJ

23 October 2015

ECOWAS Community Court of Justice calls for respect for Judgments.

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (ECCJ) has called on member states to respect and execute the Court’s judgment to promote regional integration.

The call was made yesterday, 22nd October 2015 by the President of the Court, Honourable Justice Maria do Ceu Silver Monteiro, while declaring open the ECCJ 2015/2016 Legal Year in Abuja, Nigeria.

Justice Maria said only a strong court of justice, independent and respected can contribute to the promotion of greater regional integration.

She stated that despite their determination to fulfill their mandate, they are faced with challenges that prevent its effective fulfilment. Some of the challenges noted include inconvenient space that houses the seat of the court and refusal by member states to execute the court’s judgments.

The President reiterated her call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to grant the application for the extension of the court.

Speaking earlier, the Chief Registrar of the Court, Mr. Tony Anene-Maidoh, emphasised the need for the Community to create an enabling legal framework for the economic integration of the sub-region by giving the Court the necessary competence, especially in matters of trade.

Reviewing the Court’s judicial activities, Mr. Tony noted that a total of 227 cases have been lodged before the Court and 208 decisions consisting of 106 judgments, 87 rulings, 12 revision of judgments and 3 advisory opinions have been delivered by the Court since 2003.

He pointed out that a high percentage of the decision of the Court is based on its Human Rights mandate, adding that since the 2005 Supplementary Protocol of the Community Court of Justice which defines its jurisdiction, does not require the exhaustion of local remedies, Community citizens can seek redress before their Nation’s Court or the ECCJ in respect of Human Rights complaints.

Speaking on the theme and sub theme of the Legal year, Mr. Femi Falano (SAN) noted that the intervention of the Court has improved the Human Right standard of the people of the Community.

Giving instances of cases that were struck out by the court due to lack of locus standi, he called for the expansion of the Court’s mandate and Jurisdiction to enable it try criminal cases.

Stressing on the need for the Court to have an appellate chamber, Mr. Femi urged the Court to create an online platform for litigants to file in cases in order to reduce the cost of accessing and reaching the court.

Goodwill messages were delivered by the President of the ECOWAS Commission represented by the Vice President, Dr Toga Mcintosh; Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, represented by Dr. Kabir Garba; Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by Mr. Taiwo Abidogun Esq.; and President of the Nigerian Bar Association, represented by Mazi Afam Osigwe; among others who pledged their support to the ECCJ in the promotion of regional integration.

The theme of the 2015/2016 Legal year of the Court was “Rule of Law, Democracy and Good Governance: creating the enabling legal environment for regional integration; with the sub theme “the role of ECCJ in regional integration: consolidating the Human Rights mandate of the Court.

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