The President of the Supreme Court of Cote d’Ivoire, Justice Rene Francois Aphing-Kouassi on Monday, 17th February 2020 blamed ‘ignorance’ for some of the problems militating against the enforcement of the decisions of the ECOWAS Court by Member States of the 15-member Community.

“We appreciate the difficulties experienced by the Court with the enforcement of its decisions and we promise to help in addressing the challenges responsible for the low level of enforcement,” the President assured a delegation of the Court on a weeklong outreach programme in the country.

He told the delegation led by the President of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, that the outreach programme was an important platform to engage with the stakeholders to further improve on their understanding of the Court, its mandate, jurisdiction, access and its relationship with the national courts of Member State so as to improve synergy in the delivery of justice.

Earlier, Justice Asante had told the Speaker that both Courts complement each other and that the outreach has been structured to allow a forum to engage with the judges as part of the process of improving synergy with national courts.

The delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the country’s Parliament, Honorable Amadou Soumahoro who said by that establishing the Court, Heads of State and Government of the Community had demonstrated their interest in the promotion of the rule of law and the recognition of the primacy of justice as the bedrock of regional integration.

“Justice is key at the national and regional levels and even in the area of investment which we all need, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is founded on the confidence that it grounded on respect for the rule of law.

He assured the Court of the support of the Parliament towards the realization of its mandate in the region’s integration project, including the interpretation of Community instruments, adding that in a world where there is constant conflict between the strong and the weak, justice and respect for the rule of law have assumed greater relevance.

The President had told the speaker that for the enforcement of its decisions, the Court will require the support of the Parliament which as the ‘bastion of lawmaking,’ has statutory responsibility for the ratification of Community instruments that is required for their enforcement.

The delegation finally visited the Minister of African Integration and Ivoirians abroad where they were received by the Minister’s Director of Cabinet, Mr Sylla Kalilou who described the Court as a ‘precious” institution whose role has assumed more importance with recent developments in the region.

He also praised the timing of the campaign, coming against the backdrop of the recent issues including political developments and the border closure by a Member State which has generated a lot of complaints by private sector operators who have to be educated on ‘where to go for the resolution of issues related to the closure, particularly the interpretation of the relevant Community texts.

The weeklong campaign is anchored on the four platforms of a sensitization, special forum for lawyers/ law students, a town hall and judicial dialogue for the country’s judges.

The delegation of the Court also include its other four judges, the Chief Registrar and Directors as well as staff mainly from the Registry and Research and Documentation Departments.

The delegation had earlier been welcomed by the Special Representative of ECOWAS in the Country, Ambassador Babacar Carlos Mbaye who pledged the support of the office, which is helping to coordinate the arrangements for the campaign, to its success in order to improve recourse to the Court by citizens of Cote d’Ivoire.