The ECOWAS Court of Justice on Wednesday, 19th July 2023, hosted Professor Sarah H. Cleveland, a candidate of the United States of America, who was at the Court to campaign for its support for her candidacy for the position of a judge at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

She was received by the Vice President of the Court, Hon. Justice Gberi-bè Ouattara, who promised to convey her request to his peers who are on holidays because of the Court’s vacation which started on 15th July 2023 and noted the antecedents of the candidate in human rights and Africa.

The Vice President also said that the Court is excited by the commitment of Professor Cleveland to promote collaboration between the ECOWAS Court and the ICC as this will help deepen human rights through the exercise of the mandates of the two courts.

The candidate had informed the Vice President of her nomination by the US government for the upcoming elections of judges to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) who will serve a nine year term beginning from February 2024.

Professor Cleveland, who is a Professor of international law at Columbia Law School, New York, told Justice Ouattara that one of the chapters of her courses in the university dealt with Community law and that the jurisprudence of the ECOWAS Court of Justice was particularly useful to her.

The candidate, who previously served as Vice-Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, said that based on her appreciation of collaboration between courts, she organized the very first meeting between the Committee and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and promised to organize more of such events when elected to the ICJ in order to continue the “conversation between courts”.

The Professor, who is from the US State of Alabama, explained that she had very good relations with the African continent as she was exposed to the realities of racism and campaigned against the injustices that stem from it. Moreover, she said that her graduation focused on independence and decolonization in Africa while her first job at law school was on research in Namibia and southern Africa on the transition from apartheid to constitutional democracy.

She briefed the Vice President on steps being taken as part of her campaign and promised to strengthen the relations of the ICJ with the African community courts in the event of an election.

She was accompanied to the Court by Mr. Niels Von Deuten, of the United States Department of State and David Frost, Deputy Political Counselor at the United States Embassy in Nigeria, while the Chief Registrar of the Court, Dr. Yaouza Ouro-Sama, was also in attendance