ECOWAS: Community judges seek amendment of courts text on enforcement of decisions

Calabar, Nigeria (PANA) - The new judges of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice have called for the amendment of the Community’s law on the enforcement of its decisions to eliminate the bottlenecks militating against the effectiveness of the Court.

Article 24 of the Protocol on the Court provides for the methods for the enforcement of its decisions, including the designation of local authorities in member states to coordinate the enforcement based on the civil procedure rules of the State.

At the end of their inaugural retreat in Nigeria's southern city of Calabar, the judges expressed concern that most member states have not designated the national authority for the enforcement of the decisions of the Court as required under the Article, recalling the obligation of the States under Article 89 of the ECOWAS revised treaty to comply with the decisions of the Community, a reaffirmation of an internationally-acknowledged legal principle.

The judges also suggested the convening of the meeting of the regions’ legal experts during the first quarter of 2015 to examine the draft rules of arbitration submitted to the ECOWAS Commission, which has responsibility for convening the body as the first step towards its approval by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.

The draft rules were developed by the Court and submitted to the Commission in 2011 to initiate the process for its adoption by the Council.

The seven-member court will double as the regional arbitration tribunal during an interim period prior to the establishment of tribunal.

They also stressed the need to undertake the harmonisation and amendment of the texts of the Court in order to eliminate some discrepancies, while an organogram that reflects the specificities of the Court should be proposed as part of the ongoing process of institutional reform of the ECOWAS Commission and institutions of the Community.

The two-day retreat suggested the establishment of a monitoring committee to propose a successor strategic plan for the Court for the next five years (2015-2020).

The judges retreat, the third in the series organised by the Court over eight days, enabled some officials of the court to brief the judges on some critical issues, including the strategic plan adopted by their predecessors in 2013, efforts towards the harmonisation of its texts relating to the court as initiated by the pioneer judges, the proposed guidelines for judgements, the organogram of the court and proposed solutions to the problem of the enforcement of its decisions.

It was preceded by that on administrative and budgetary issues followed by that for judicial officers of the Court, comprising the judges, their assistants, the chief registrar as well as registry and legal staff.
-0- PANA SEG 26Jan2015

26 Janeiro 2015 09:36:13

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