The ECOWAS Court has decried the shun of a key protocol by member states as well as the low rate of compliance with judgments.
Out of 17 countries in the region, only Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Togo have appointed national authorities entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing judgments.
Elohor Ovadje, an Information Officer, made this known in a statement on Monday after the just-concluded 9-day external session in Abidjan, capital of Cote d’Ivoire.
The court called it one of the most productive sessions in its 20-year history. A total of 11 judgments were delivered, 38 cases heard, and adjourned for continuation in Abuja, Nigeria.
The President, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, however, expressed regret that Article 10(f) of the protocol which would have facilitated effective collaboration between national courts and ECOWAS Court is yet to be implemented by any national court.
Justice Asante explained that a normative framework for regional integration and deepening of the relationship between national courts and the regional court will provide the enabling legal environment for the attainment of collective objectives.
The President reminded countries of the adoption of the protection of human rights as a cardinal and fundamental value enshrined in the ECOWAS Treaty.
“Without doubt, regional economic integration and regional protection of human rights both constrain sovereignty.
“It is, therefore, necessary for member states that established ECOWAS to recognize the supranationality and the need for them to abide by obligations”, he added.
Justice Asante advised countries to comply with judgments in the Revised Treaty which clearly provides that the judgments are binding on all member states, institutions, corporate bodies, and individuals.
The President said such action will address the “30 percent unsatisfactory rate of compliance of the Court’s decisions”.