President of the ECOWAS Court, Justice Edward Asante has said that the lack of political will on the part of member states to enforce its judgment was limiting its effectiveness.
Briefing reporters during a virtual news conference yesterday, Asante said aspect of enforcing judgments of the court does not rest with the court but with member states.
According to him, the member states were yet to play their part enshrined in the protocol, noting that even those who have met the requirements still disregard judgments of the court when they are served.
“The enforceability aspect of judgments has not been given to the court, it has been given to member states and member states have to have the political will to be able to enforce the judgments.
“Initially, by the amended protocol they have to appoint representatives in their various countries who will have to receive the judgements of the court and make sure they enforce them within their countries.
“It is only five member states who have appointed the representative, even then, those who have appointed, judgment is served on them and it still depends on the political will of the government,” he said.
He expressed worry that if the precedence continues, there may be no need for the court to continue existing if its judgments are not obeyed by member states.
As a way out, he proposed that the protocols be amended such that judgement creditors (someone who has obtained judgments from the court) are allowed to enforce the judgment in their countries through the local courts.
He also called on the media and civil society groups to also play their part to advocate in the countries for the effective implementation of the rulings of the Community Court of Justice.
“The way out is for them to amend the protocols and rules of the court such that a judgement creditor can enforce it in the country by filing the judgement in the court system of his/her country and then proceed to enforce it.
“So, it is also the duty of the journalists and civil society in our countries to rise up and ensure that their ministers who pass these laws and recommendations to the president are upheld.
“You have to let them know that people are getting disillusioned by the judgement of the court because if the court gives judgment and it cannot be enforced then what is the use of the court.”