By: Dawda Baldeh
Delivering the closing remarks of a four-day International Conference of the ECOWAS Court of Justice yesterday 25th May 2023 in Banjul, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice commended Gambia for appointing the Minister of Justice Dawda A. Jallow as the country’s authority for the enforcement of the judgment of the court.
Justice Asante revealed that less than 30% of the member states comply with the judgment of the court, which according to him is not encouraging.
“We were here in March to discuss the conference and they (the Gambian government) promised to appoint their authority. Today, I’m happy that I received the authorization from the president of the Gambia appointing Hon. Dawda A. Jallow as their competent authority for the enforcement of the judgment of the court,” he said.
According to the ECOWAS president, the 30% complaint of member states is not encouraging and is capable of eroding public confidence in the court.
He mentioned that six out of the fifteen member states namely Benin, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Niger, and Sierra Leone are yet to appoint their competent authorities for the enforcement of the judgment of the court.
“We have written to all these countries to their national offices, attorney generals and chief justices to discuss with their presidents that in line with the ECOWAS protocols, their countries have to appoint the authorities whether they will have the weapons to enforce the judgment or not,” he emphasized.
Justice Asante urged the member states to domesticate their ECOWAS revised treaty and protocol on the court in order to create the enabling legal environment for the enforcement of the judgment of the court by the national courts of the member states.
He told the gathering that there is an urgent need for them to review and strengthen the judgment, and enforcement mechanism of the court.
“We recognize that the most important element is the political will and good faith of member states to comply with the judgment of the court. I thank all and sundry of member states for making this conference a success,” he added.
Dawda A. Jallow, the Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said the theme of the conference which is “ECOWAS Zero Tolerance for Unconstitutional Change of Government” has been deeply explored, honestly debated and thoughtfully analysed.
The Gambia Justice minister added that they have delved into the complexity of constitutional adherence, the challenges of maintaining democratic order and the solution that paves the way to the shared goals.
“West Africa is firmly rooted in Democracy, the rule of law and respect for the constitution. The conference has not only enriched our understanding of these issues but has also strengthened our resolve to fortify our democratic values and institutions.
We have collectively demonstrated the power of collaboration on dialogue and mutual respect towards the pursuit of our common aspiration of our sub-region,” he said.
Minister Jallow expressed the country’s gratitude to the members of the ECOWAS Court of Justice for hosting the conference.
Jallow said hosting the conference has further given Gambia a unique advantage to re-enforcing conviction that strong democracies are built upon the strength of cooperation and shared insights.
Jallow further told his colleagues in the ECOWAS Court of Justice that the Gambia is willing to host such a conference shortly.