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ECOWAS court frowns at non-enforcement of decisions by member states

“There is a provision in our law that once decisions are given, they must be implemented in the member states.”

The ECOWAS Court of Justice on Tuesday expressed displeasure at member states’ non-compliance with the court’s judgments and orders.

Awa Daboya, the President of the court, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the usefulness of the court does not lie in its mere creation and existence.

She said the court would only be beneficial and powerful in promoting human rights, peace and justice when it adjudicated cases and the decisions were enforced by the member states.

She said unfortunately, the court’s impact, importance and contributions to peace had been significantly undermined by the continuous disregard to its decisions.

“There is a provision in our law that once decisions are given, they must be implemented in the member states and this is where the court has a relationship with member states.

“Unfortunately the same states that created the court, adopted the supplementary protocol and compelled them to respect human rights and promote it, are not enforcing its judgement.

“The attitude of member states towards non-implementation of decisions of the court had affected the confidence members had in the court’s ability to implement its decisions,” she said.

Ms. Daboya, therefore, called on member states to fulfil their obligations by enforcing decisions made by the court.

“We rely on member states to implement the execution of judgment by the court set up by them and in which they all agreed to comply with its decisions.

“Each member state is supposed to appoint a national authority responsible for the enforcement of decisions of the court.

“Unfortunately, only Nigeria and Guinea Conakry, out of the 15 member states, have appointed appropriate national authority,’’ she said.

The civil society had recommended in 2011, at an International conference, to bring out a list that had the statistics of international memorandum to the entire community, Ms. Daboya said.

The president said it was to remind the states that they created the court, therefore, should uphold the execution of its decisions.

Ms. Daboya, however, said that ECOWAS would sanction any state identified with non-compliance of the court’s decisions “which is a major impediment in the quest for peace and stability in the region”.

“ECOWAS now has a list of clear sanctions provided against states that do not respect their obligations, apart from the existing diplomatic sanctions, to compel ECOWAS states to execute decisions.

The ECOWAS court of justice is recognised as an important arm of the ECOWAS that is capable of promoting justice and human rights.

The court also promotes peace and security in the entire West African region.


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