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At 20, ECOWAS Court an exemplar to other regional courts – Asante


The President of the Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, has described the court as a pace setter for other regional courts, particularly those in Africa.

Asante spoke prior to the opening of an International Conference, organized by the Court in Lome, Togo, and dedicated to its 20th anniversary celebration, that although young, the court had through its jurisprudence set examples for other courts.

A statement issued on Monday in Lome, said that the theme of the conference is: “20 years of the ECOWAS Court of Justice: achievements, challenges and prospects.”

“The conference provides an opportunity to examine various dimensions of the young Court which has, through its enviable jurisprudence, become an exemplar among regional courts, particularly in Africa.

“Through the seven themes of the conference, we want not only to celebrate its remarkable achievements, but also examine the challenges and prospects, particularly against the backdrop of its initial mandate as an inter-state court with responsibility to facilitate the region’s integration and its prominence as a human rights court,” the President said.

Asante said the sub themes of the conference relate to the Court’s historical development, focusing on such issues as its defining human rights mandate, relations with national courts, the enforcement of its decisions, its jurisprudence, remedies and reparations as well as the mechanisms for strengthening the Court.

The periodic conference, the President said, was introduced in 2004 to provide an opportunity to review important legal themes that will contribute to the development of Community Law, review its judicial mandate and stay abreast of international best practices.

Moreover, Asante said the conference which had been held in Dakar, Cotonou, Accra, Bissau and Bamako, provides an opportunity to interface with selected stakeholders including judicial officers from Member States and regional courts as well as scholars, jurists of international repute and the civil society.

He described the Lome conference as the first hybrid international conference of the Court where presentations will be made physically and virtually taking cognizance of the imperatives of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant savings.

The conference, which will be attended by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, the Chief Justices of ECOWAS Member States, Presidents of Bar Associations, Heads of ECOWAS National Units and the Director of the UNHCR for West and Central Africa, is expected to be declared open by President Faure Gnassingbe of the Republic of Togo.

Some 24 papers will be presented by academics and lawyers from within and outside West Africa during the week-long international conference which opens on Monday.

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