QUESTION OF THE DAY
The Ecowas Community Court of Justice was created pursuant to the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993 to serve as its judicial organ charged with resolving disputes related to the Community’s treaty, protocols and conventions.
In 2005 a Supplementary Protocol to the treaty made provision for the court to have competence to hear individual complaints of alleged human rights violations. Hence the relevant portion of Article 10 of the amended protocol now reads:
“Access to the Court is open to the following: d) Individuals on application for relief for violation of their human rights; the submission of application for which shall:
- Not be anonymous; nor
- Be made whilst the same matter has been instituted before another International Court for adjudication.”
The seven members of the court aged between 40 and 60 are drawn from member states and are appointed by the Ecowas Heads of State. No two judges can be nationals of the same state. A member cannot serve for more than two five year terms. A judge can be removed from office by the Heads of State in case of misconduct, inability to exercise his/her functions or physical or mental disability based on a report of plenary session of the court.
The court gives legal advisory opinion on matters relating to interpretation of the community law and examines cases of failure by Member States to honour their obligations under the Community law, including human rights.
Decisions of the Court shall be final and immediately enforceable.