The Vice President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Gberi-be Ouattara has urged law students in Senegal to create a platform through which they could engage with the Court on Community law, human rights issues and the jurisprudence of the Court among others.

“You can create an association of law students some of whose members could be invited to the headquarters of the court in Abuja to interface with officials of the Court and undertake research that will impact on the knowledge of the students of the Court,” he said at town hall meeting on Thursday, 27th February 2020 in hosted by the Court in Dakar.

He explained the Court was set up to eliminate all obstacles to the integration of the region through the exercise of its mandate for the interpretation of community texts, protocols and other instruments as encapsulated in its initial mandate as an interstate court.

The Judge said that with the 2005 expansion of its mandate, the court has been invested with a human rights mandate, a mandate as a public service court for ECOWAS staff and an arbitration mandate during an interim period.

He told the participants that the Court has also challenged the country’s bar association to find ways to integrate the study of community law into the curriculum of law schools so that the students will not only be grounded on this law during their formative years but see it as integral to their law training and practice.

The Vice President said the Court was elated to learn that some of the students were already introduced into Community law as part of their training which has enabled them to become familiar with the Court, its mandate, jurisdiction and jurisprudence, including the challenge of the enforcement of its decisions.

“ I am impressed at the quality of your contributions during this meeting which showed that you have an excellent grasp of Community law through your training which can only be encouraged,’ he added.

The town hall meeting was among the activities scheduled by the court as part of its weeklong outreach campaign in Senegal that started on Tuesday, 26th February 2020 with a courtesy call on the Minister of Justice.

Justice Ouattara said the outreach is one of the four scheduled for 2020 as part of the work plan of the court, the first of which was held in Cote d’Ivoire from 16th February. He said that the last two are scheduled to take place in Guinea and Niger during the second quarter of the year.

The other components of the campaign include a special forum for lawyers and law students as well as a judicial dialogue with judges of the national courts to discuss their role in the enforcement of the decisions of the Court and the relationship between the ECOWAS Court and national courts.

Also on the delegation for the campaign were three other judges and staff of the Court.

Presentations focused mainly on the mandate and jurisdiction of the court, the practice and procedure, how to file cases, representation before the Court, privileges and immunities for lawyers and agents as well as women rights.