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Monday, September 21, 2020

Ecowas court urges Gambia, others to comply

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Two decisions had been entered by the court against the Gambia government, in favour disappeared Chief Ebrima Manneh of The Daily Observer and torture case of Musa Saidykhan, a former editor of defunct Independent newspaper.

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The sub-regional court which has been in existence for fourteen years on Wednesday officially opened the 2014/2015 legal year amid concerns over the general non compliance by member states.

“The non-appointment of a national authority for the enforcement of our judgments and decisions has been a setback to the advancement court,” said Justice Maria Do Ceu Monteiro, president of the court.

Also speaking, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, pointed out that Nigeria is the only country out of the 15 Ecowas member states to set up national authority for the enforcement of the judgments of the court accordance with the Article24 of the Protocol of the Court. 

He added: “There about 25 cases awaiting decisions that 14 member states are yet to comply with. Compliance is about the legitimisation of our institution. Thus, the decision of the court should be respected and enforced.”

The Nigerian rights activist proposed that Ecowas should consider imposing sanctions on states that failed to respect the authority of the court. He further suggested for the creation of a judge rapporteur for the court and technical advisory services to deal with compliance issues. 

The newly elected vice president of the Ecowas Court, Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, called upon the media to help give visibility to the court. 

“Media are one of the major stakeholders in the effective enforcement of the court’s decisions,” he said. “When you look at the mistreatments in the community those majorly affected are journalists. There is an existential reason journalists should look into this.”

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