Reflections on the ECOWAS Community Court Protocol and the Constitutions of Member States

In: International Community Law Review
A.O. Enabulele Lecturer, Department of Jurisprudence and International Law Faculty of Law University of Benin Nigeria PhD student, Brunel University West London, UK

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Only recently, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States, which was hitherto opened only to Community States, was expanded to allow direct human rights violation claims by individuals. Though the court has since started to function, its impact is yet to be felt ‐ citizens of recalcitrant Community States still live in wanton violation of their rights in most of the States, where national courts are weak and effective remedies for rights violations largely nonexistent. This is consequent upon the failure of Community States to align their national laws with the new legal order represented by the Community Court; national laws and indeed national courts are still very hostile to the court and its judgements, thereby discouraging citizens from attending the court. This Article takes a look at the relevant provisions of the constitutions of Community States and advocates an urgent need for the cooperation to be forged between national legal systems and the community legal system through the amendment of hostile laws, as a prerequisite to the achievement of the virile community legal order.

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