By Edrissa Jallow, @EdrissaJallow10
The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice, Edward Amoako Asante highlighted that six member states have yet to appoint competent authorities to enforce the court decisions. ECOWAS Court of Justice was in The Gambia on Monday 22nd May 2023 discussing solutions for smoother operations of the community court and the sub-region.
During the closing ceremony of the meeting which took place on Thursday 25th May 2023, President Amoako informed diplomats that the absence of the six member states providing authorities is a grave concern to the court.
“It is of grave concern to us [ECOWAS] that six of our Member States namely; (Benin, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone) are yet to appoint competent national authorities for the enforcement of the judgments of the Court,” said Justice Edward.
The mandate of the ECOWAS Community Court included determining cases of human rights violation in any of the ECOWAS Member States. According to research, “the judgments of the ECOWAS Court are binding [and] the Member States are required to take immediate steps to comply with the remedy”.
In light of this, Justice Amoako appealed to the government of the six countries to appoint authorities “without further delay” also urging “all Member States to domesticate the ECOWAS Revised Treaty and the Protocol on the Court to create the enabling legal environment for the enforcement of the judgments of the Court by national courts of Member States”.
According to Justice Edward, “the current compliance rate of less than 30% with the judgments of the Court, is not encouraging and is capable of eroding public confidence in the Court” even thou “there is an urgent need to review and strengthen the judgment enforcement mechanism of the Court, we recognize that the most important element is the political will and good faith of Member States to comply with the judgments of the Court”.