Forty-six cases were lodged before the Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS during the 2015/2016 legal year, the Vice President of the Court, Honourable Justice Micah Wilkins Wright announced on Wednesday, 28th September 2016 in Abuja.
Addressing a pre event press briefing ahead of Friday’s ceremony to mark the beginning of the 2016/2017 legal year, the Vice President also said that 89 court sessions were held during the period with 34 Judgments, 13 Rulings while two applications for the revision of the Court’s decision were considered.
He appealed to Member States that are yet to designate their national Competent Authority for liaison with the Court to do so in order to facilitate the dispensation of justice through the Court.
He said that the instrument of designation has only been received from four Member States – Guinea, Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso while some others are at various levels of compliance.
Answering a question during the briefing, the Court’s Chief Registrar, Mr Tony Anene-Maidoh said that 29 cases were lodged before the Court in 2015 as against 31 in 2014 while 38 Judgments and 10 Rulings were delivered.
The press briefing is part of the Court’s programme for the forthcoming 2016/2017 Legal Year Ceremony scheduled for Friday, 30th of September, 2016 at the Seat of the Court in Abuja.
The legal year ceremony is an important annual event in the Court’s calendar, which affords it the opportunity to brief stakeholders on the judicial activities of the Court and its proposed programme of activities for the new legal year.
During the solemn ceremony, Hon. Justice Jérôme Traore, President of the Community Court, will declare the new legal year open.
Mr. Adama Coulibaly, the Director-General of the Dakar-based ECOWAS organ, the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, (GIABA) is expected to be guest speaker on the theme of the celebration.
He will speak on “The Contributions of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in the Fight Against Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering within the West African Sub-region: the Perspective of GIABA.”
This is the first time the Chief Executive of an organ of the Community will be speaking on the theme of the celebration of the legal year of the Court.
Other dignitaries expected at the ceremony include political and administrative heads of the host country Nigeria, Heads of ECOWAS Institutions in Abuja, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassadors of Member States accredited to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Presidents of West African, and Nigerian Bar Associations and members of civil societies.
The Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS was established in accordance with provisions of Articles 6 and 15 of the Revised Treaty of ECOWAS.
The status, composition, powers, and other issues concerning the Court are set out in the Protocol relating to the Court.
The 1991 Protocol relating to the Court clearly states that the ECOWAS Court is the principal legal organ of the Community with the main function of resolving disputes regarding the interpretation and application of the adopted Texts/Laws of the Community.
The 2005 Supplementary Protocol on the Court invested it with a four-fold mandate; as a Community Court charged with the interpretation and application of the Community Texts/Law/Legal Instruments adopted by ECOWAS.
Secondly, as an ECOWAS Public Service Court, with competence to adjudicate on any dispute between ECOWAS and its officials.
Its third mandate is as an Arbitration Tribunal, a function assigned to it pending the establishment of the Arbitration Tribunal of the Community.
The exercise of this function is awaiting the adoption of its Rules of Arbitration by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.
Finally, the Court has a human rights mandate, which has become the centerpiece of its judicial activities.
By Elohor Ovadje