Economic Community of West African States/ECOWAS

The Community Court of Justice, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Thursday disclosed that the enforcement of its orders is a matter of the political will of member states of the commission.

This was disclosed by a judge of the court, Justice Dupe Atoki, on Thursday during a press conference as part of activities to mark the advocacy visit of members of the court to Enugu.

Atoki, a member of the body of judges of the court representing Nigeria said that the obligation of the court just as other conventional courts ended at arriving at decisions and ensuring that the writ of the judgment was transmitted to the concerned member state.

According to her, the court has had situations where its decisions were not complied with by member states, including Nigeria.

She said “Enforcement of court order is a matter of having the political will and it is up to the executive arm of any government to enforce decisions of national and international courts.

“The member states made commitments to comply with the decisions of the court but that is not always the case as our judgments are not always complied with to the fullest,” she said.

She said disobedience to their orders had its sanctions as provided in the ECOWAS treaty for non-compliance with the obligations of member states.

Atoki described the court as “a court of human rights, which does not require the exhaustion of local remedies before hearing the matter on violation of human rights against any member state.”

She said the responsibilities of the court had been expanded to allow individuals to bring complaints of human rights violations by member states.

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