ECOWAS: Community Court President makes case for under-privileged litigants

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (PANA) - The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice President, Hon. Justice Maria de Ceu Silva Monteiro, has advocated the establishment of a legal aid fund in the region to support under-privileged citizens wishing to avail themselves of the services of the Community Court of Justice for cases under its jurisprudence.

“Such a fund would further help liberalise citizen access to the Court by eliminating the financial constraint preventing some citizens from availing themselves of the remedies offered by the court, mostly for cases related to the violation of human rights,’' Hon. Justice Monteiro said in Bissau Wednesday, while closing the first external session of the court to be held in the country.

According to a statement from the Court, she also proposed the establishment of sub registries of the court in each of the region’s 15 member states to serve as entry points for filing proceedings before the court for onward transmission to the Court’s headquarters in Abuja, a development that would save litigants the cost of travelling to the Nigerian capital to file their cases.

As a further cost-saving measure, Hon. Justice Monteiro said the Court would explore the possibility of conducting its proceedings by video conference to save parties the cost of travelling to the Nigerian capital for their cases.

The session was preceded by a three-day international conference that examined the human rights regime in the region and the role of the court in its enforcement and the protection of the human rights of community citizens.

Eight cases were handled during the three-day external session, which is held in a different member state each year to sensitise and familiarise citizens with the operations of the court, its mandate and access procedures.
-0- PANA SEG 26March2015

26 Março 2015 12:40:33

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