Ghana to host ECOWAS court cases beginning March 21

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Ghana is expected to host for the first time, the external court session of the Community Court of Justice (CCJ), ECOWAS, since its introduction in March 2007 in Mali.

The external court session which is a key element of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Court’s annual work programme is being hosted by Ghana this year, in response to several requests.

Some 60 pending cases have therefore been listed for the session, and are scheduled to take place at the Law Court Complex in Accra over 11 days, from Monday March 21, 2022.

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Majority of the cases which are for Judgement and hearing, are Violation of Plaintiffs’ Human Rights, and among the cases are: Ms. Rose Breivogel and Anor versus the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Adou Kouame and 14 Ors versus the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire; Transparency International and 02 Ors versus the Republic of Ghana.

The order for the Accra session was announced on 29th October 2021 and signed by Justice Asante after the 2019 and 2020 editions could not be held because of the Covid-19 pandemic which compelled the Court to integrate remote hearings for cases, including the external court session.

Judgments are scheduled for delivery in 25 of the cases for the external sitting in Accra while the remaining 35 are for hearing.

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Members of the court expected to preside over the cases are Justice Edward Amoako (President), Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara (Vice President), Justice Dupe Atoki (Judge), Justice Keikura Bangura (Judge), and Justice Januaria Tavares Silva Moreira Costa (Judge).

Elaborating on the upcoming session, President of the CCJ, Justice Edward Amoako Asante said “The essence of the program is to bring justice to the common man at the Community’s grassroots, especially the indigent citizens who could otherwise not afford the cost and logistics of travelling to the seat of the Court in Abuja to access justice.”

He further noted the session avails the Court the opportunity for judicial dialogue with national courts of Member States and exposes lawyers and Community citizens to the Practice and Procedure of a regional international court.

He said it would also enable the Court to engage with high political authorities of the host Member State and serve as a citizen outreach opportunity for the Court on its competence, mandate as well as practice and procedure.

Citing Article 26 (2) of the 1991 Protocol on the Court, Justice Asante said the protocol allows the Court to undertake such sessions in the territory of Member State outside the Headquarters of the Court ‘where circumstances or facts of the case so demand” and based on an order of the Court convened by its President.

President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who doubles as the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS will on Monday, March 21, 2022 declare the session open for its commencement.

Meanwhile, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Porto-Novo, Ibadan (Nigeria), Lome, Guinea Bissau, Abidjan and Bamako have all been host cities to the event since its introduction.

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