The Minister of African Integration and Ivoirians abroad, Mr. Ally Coulibaly has warned of the possibility of more cases to be filed before the Community Court of Justice by private sector operators seeking the correct interpretation of Community texts and related to the closure of its borders by one of the Member States.

“We have received many complaints from these operators about the losses they incurred from the closure,” the Minister said in a message to the opening on Tuesday, 18th February 2020 of a weeklong outreach programme of the Court for stakeholders in Cote d’Ivoire.

In the message which was delivered by the Minister’s Director of Cabinet, Mr. Kalilou Sylla, he described the Court as an important tool for the attainment of the objectives of the Community which has as part of its evolution acquired an expanded mandate that gives citizens direct access mainly for issues connected with the violation of their human rights.

He said that this access, granted through the 2005 Protocol on the Court, would contribute to the strengthening good governance for the benefit of the region.

In his opening remarks, the President of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante said that only 18 cases have been filed by ECOWAS citizens in Cote d’Ivoire of which judgments have been delivered in 11 of them, one dismissed, another struck out and five pending.

He described the outreach as a complementary initiative by the Court to boost its visibility and enable it to engage with critical stakeholders to enlighten them on diverse issues including its mandate, jurisdiction, practice and procedure, how to file cases and representation including the privileges and immunities for lawyers and agents.

Moreover, there are also presentations that provide an overview of the Court, its human rights mandate with its peculiarities, womens rights and the prospect and challenges of the Court.

Justice Asante said the campaign has been structured in such a way to allow for engagement with lawyers, students, law teachers and judges who are not only partners in the delivery of justice, but also have a role in the enforcement of the decisions of the Court.

The ECOWAS Special Representative in Cote d’Ivoire, Ambassador Babacar Carlos Mbaye had in his welcome address pledged the commitment of the office to support the campaign in order to ensure a successful and enduring outcome.

Thirteen presentations will be made during the weeklong campaign which is segmented into four activities including a sensitization component, a forum for lawyers/ law students, a town hall and forum for judges.