Amend protocol establishing ECOWAS Court-Godfred Dame
“Mr. President, I note that both the 1991 protocol and the 2005 supplementary protocol omitted the requirement to exhaust local remedies before invoking the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS court."
The Attorney General of Ghana, Godfred Yeboah Dame has called for the amendment of the protocol establishing the ECOWAS Court to inculcate a provision for parties to exhaust local remedies before resorting to the community court.
He notes that the 1991 and 2005 protocol and Supplementary protocols respectively of the court omitted the requirement for local exhaustion or remedy in national courts of member states thus casting a slur on the mandate of the court.
Further to the above, he mentioned that the Jurisdiction of the ECOWAS court fashioned the same as an engine of integration however the future of the court remains in doubt because dockets of the court contain few issues that aptly fall under its direct jurisdiction.
“Mr. President, the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court of Justice originally fashioned it out as an engine of integration. Whiles commending the expansion of the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court, a rather downside to this development is that the future of the court as an instrument of integration across the ECOWAS Community remains in doubt.”
“…due to the fact that dockets of the court contain few cases if at all involving tariffs, trade barriers, and other integration law-related issues. Instead, they are dominated by suits by individuals and NGOs alleging human rights violations.”
“Mr. President, I note that both the 1991 protocol and the 2005 supplementary protocol omitted the requirement to exhaust local remedies before invoking the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS court. This is a marked departure from the procedure adopted by other international judicial and quasi-judicial human right bodies.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the external session of the ECOWAS Community Court in Accra on March 21, 2022, the Attorney General also called for a boosting of the court’s mandate to address most issues bothering migration, land tariffs, and other trade measures adopted by member states to enhance the court’s original conceived role.
The External Court session of the Community Court of Justice of the ECOWAS is being held in Ghana for the first time since its formation; under the auspices of the Judiciary of Ghana from March 20 to April 2, 2022.
Ghana’s President, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo who is Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS opened this external Court session on Monday, March 21, 2022, at the 5th Floor of the Law Courts Complex in Accra.
Also present at the ceremony are the Chief Justice of Ghana, His Lordship Kwasi Anin Yeboah, President of the ECOWAS Commission, President of the Ghana Bar Association, Justices of the ECOWAS Court, Members of the Ghanaian Bar, etc.
Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS-External Session
The External Court session of the Court is being held in Ghana for the first time since its formation over twenty years ago.
The session, which is important in the annual work program of the Court, is anchored on the provision of Article 26(2) of the 1991 Protocol on the Court.
It is aimed at bringing Justice to the average person at the grassroots of the Community.
The Programme also provides the opportunity for Judicial dialogue with the national Courts of host countries and exposes lawyers and community citizens in the country to the practice and procedure of a Regional International Court.