The ECOWAS Court has suspended its 2020 travel-related activities, mainly official missions, because of the outbreak of Covid-19 which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a pandemic, according to the President of the Court.

Justice Edward Asante said the decision by the management of the Court was ‘precautionary and for the safety of staff,’ and that the affected activities will be rescheduled as soon as the pandemic is over.

“ We don’t want to subject staff to avoidable risk considering the global threat posed by this pandemic and consistent with the international response,’ the President explained, noting that the Court preferred to adjust its approved programmes for 2020 than expose staff to the risk of infection.

Among the activities affected are the second judicial dialogue of the Court with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights initially scheduled for 27th and 28th March in Arusha as well as the preceding training of the Court’s office managers which was scheduled to start on 16th March 2020 also in Arusha.

He said that the Court is also taking measures to ensure the safety of those who attend court sessions.

Justice Asante said the decision is also in line with the health advisory issued last week by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), the ECOWAS health institution based in Bobbo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.

Under the advisory, the ECOWAS Commission and Community Institutions were advised to strongly discourage non-essential large gatherings of people;  defer, cancel or postpone meetings with over 50  participants until further notice and employ  remote technology if possible (Zoom, Skype, etc.) to help avoid the spread of coronavirus.