AN ANALYSIS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE
Author: ARUABUIKE, Nath Ogbu
The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) is a confederation of 15 states, that chose to come together to forge a relationship that is geographically expressive, but economic, political and social development driven. ECOWAS was created in 1975 to replace the Customs Union of Western African States originally created in 1959 to redistribute customs duties collected by the coastal areas of Western Africa. The ECOWAS Court of Justice was established as the machinery that will regulate the conduct of the different states that have come together to forge a relationship. This will aid in regulating the conduct of states, especially as there are different legal systems, currencies, cultures and languages. This court became necessary as conflicts resulting in this relationship, cannot be settled by the court of individual states, hence the need for the court of the community. The aim and objectives of the thesis is to analyze the factors influencing the effectiveness of the ECOWAS Court, it’s organs and relationship to one another, and also focusing on the Court of Justice as an organ in the integration process. In dealing with the task of this thesis, doctrinal research methods is applied. Doctrinally, the study utilizes primary sources like statutes, treaties, protocols and pacts, as well as secondary sources, mostly seminar and conference materials, journals of the community and law journals. After gathering of information, the following are observed; that provisions made for training of court officials are inadequate; It is further observed that the refusal of a member state to apply the decision of the court is a failure to fulfill its obligations which may attract sanctions. It is also observed that with regard to access to the court by applicants other than member states and the chief executive of the ECOWAS Court, access is also available to individuals and corporate bodies by articles 9 and 10 of the protocol. Based on the observations above, the study recommends that for the ECOWAS Court to be able to contribute its own quota in dealing with the long term goals, substantial attention should continue to be focused on creating an appeal court where litigants who are not satisfied with the judgment of the ECOWAS Court can further ventilate their grievances. This study has contributed to knowledge by creating greater awareness of ECOWAS Court of Justice through effective legislation.
Supervisor: PROF. M.O.U. GASIOKWU, PROF. D.F. TOM