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Falana advocates for ECOWAS appeal court to enforce rulings



femi Falana

Lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, has advocated the setting up of an appellate division of the ECOWAS Court as a solution for flagrant disregard to court rulings by member states.

Falana made this call on Wednesday during a paper presentation at the ongoing International Conference organised by the ECOWAS Court in Lome, Togo to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

According to the Revised Protocol of the ECOWAS court, its ruling could not be appealed by member states.

In its 20 years of existence, less than half of its 150 rulings have been executed by affected member states with only six out of 15 states complying with the pre-requisites for obeying the court ruling.

READ ALSO: Mali gives ECOWAS representative 72 hours to leave country

As a result, Falana said member states could better embrace the rulings if there is an opportunity to appeal them.

“There is the fear that the Court may lose its relevance if its judgments are continuously treated with disdain by member states of the ECOWAS.

“The challenge can be seriously tackled with the establishment of the appellate division of the Court by the ECOWAS leadership and the domestication of the Protocol on the Court by the parliaments of the member states.

“In view of the increasing workload of the Court, the suggestion that the jurisdiction of the Court on human rights is hinged on exhaustion of domestic remedies can no longer be ignored.

“But the Court cannot suo motu introduce exhaustion of local remedies as a precondition for accessing the Court as suggested by some advocates.

“It is a proposal that will require an amendment of the Protocol of the Court,’’ Falana said.

He added that the future of the court was bright as it had a lot of work to do with some countries in the region being overtaken by the military.

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