The Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice, has said it would not stay on the sidelines in the battle against terrorism in the sub-region.

It offered to assist member-states to curb terrorism financing and money laundering within the confines of the powers conferred on it.

The President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, His Lordship, Justice Jerome Traore, said this during the opening ceremony of the 2016/17 legal year on Friday in Abuja.

He described terrorism and money laundering as the twin manifestation of a scourge-one of which plunges the people into sorrow and mourning while the other eats away at the health of already weakened economies.

Traore explained that the court was concerned about the adverse impact of terrorism financing and money laundering on the ECOWAS region, hence its decision to invite the Director-General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, Col. Adama Coulibaly, to present a lecture with the theme, “The role of ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism within the West African sub-region-a perspective from GIABA.”

The ECOWAS Court President said, “This double-headed scourge (of terrorism financing and money laundering) must be combated at all cost and the Community Court of Justice, in its capacity as the principal legal organ of the ECOWAS, cannot remain on the sidelines of this battle which is being fought almost all over the world and notably within our ECOWAS space, for almost two decades now.

“The court thus means to offer in resolute terms the needed assistance to ECOWAS and to its member-states in the efforts being made towards the prevention and containment of these crimes.”

Coulibaly in his lecture said the effective control of money laundering and terrorism financing required that the rule of law be maintained and the principle of independence of the judiciary should be respected.

These, he said, may be achieved through the appointment of judicial officers on merit, absence of political interference in the exercise of judicial functions and security of tenure of office of judges.

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