ECOWAS Court holds intl. Conf. to strengthen regional integration, judicial system

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice will hold an International Conference from May 9 to May 12 in Praia, Cape Verde, on strengthening regional integration with the implementation of an effective justice system.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four-day conference will be jointly hosted by the government of Cape Verde, with the theme “ECOWAS Integration model: the legal implications of Regionalism, Sovereignty and Supranationalism.”

A panel of discussants consisting of jurists and scholars from ECOWAS Member States, ECOWAS Institutions, International Organisations, are expected interrogate various aspects of the ECOWAS integration model under the seven sub-themes of the conference.

Attaining the ECOWAS vision 2020, intergovernmentalism, ECOWAS approach to regional integration, its merits and challenges, goals and pillars of ECOWAS regional integration objectives will also be discussed.

President of the ECOWAS Court, Justice Edward Asante, said the conference is intended to provide a platform to critically examine the legal environment for the implementation of the regional integration agenda.

Asante said that the focus of discussion will include the impact of regionalism, supranationalism and national sovereignties of the Member States on the integration process.

“Participants will examine whether or not the enabling legal environment exists at the regional and municipal levels, for the development of an ECOWAS legal order, as well as the role of the Court, national courts and the ECOWAS Commission in the integration process,” Asante said.

The Media Directorate of the ECOWAS Court, in a statement on Sunday, stated that the discussants will also propose ways to strengthen the relationship between the ECOWAS Court and National Courts.

This, the court noted, will help for the attainment of an ECOWAS Community legal order, harmonisation of the legal and judicial systems of Member States, and enforcement of the ECOWAS Court’s judgments by the national courts.

“Under the first sub-theme, panelists will examine the ECOWAS integration model: the types of regional integration, evolution of the ECOWAS model; regional integration theories and practice including the European integration as a model for regional integration.

“The Role of Regional Courts in the regional integration process, the seventh sub theme will be examined by panelists with emphasis on the role of the ECOWAS Court in the Integration process particularly its Treaty supervision and oversight function; Lessons from the role of the European Union court in the European integration process and the development of European Community Law.

“Under the sixth sub theme of Regional Integration and Regional Protection of Human Rights, panelists will consider the relationship between Regional Integration and the regional protection of human rights; the unique features of the ECOWAS human rights mechanism as well as the ECOWAS common passport and ECOWAS citizenship.

“They will undertake an appraisal of the human rights jurisprudence of the ECOWAS Court; regional human rights systems and the challenges in enforcing judgments of the court and how to strengthen the enforcement mechanism.

“Panelists will review the Free movement of Persons, Goods and Services as an important factor in regional economic integration against the context of the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Establishment, including the militating factors.

“Panelists discussing the second sub theme of Regional Economic Integration will evaluate the ECOWAS integration agenda including the enabling legal environment for economic integration.

“They will situate ECOWAS in the regional economic integration matrix such as the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Free Trade Area, Customs Union, Common Market and others,” the Court stated.

President Jose Maria Neves of the Republic of Cape Verde will deliver a statement at the opening ceremony on May 9, while Justice Asante will deliver the welcome address.