Ghana has praised the sensitization campaigns undertaken by the ECOWAS Court in Member States as a vital platform for bridging the gap with Community citizens’ and fostering greater appreciation of its mandate and functions while familiarizing them with avenues for redress, particularly on issues relating to the violation of their human rights.

The country’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Honorable Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong said at a town hall meeting organized by the Court for stakeholders in Accra that the Court, which was established in 1991, ‘stands as a cornerstone institution dedicated to upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights, and fostering regional integration across West Africa.’

“For over three decades, the Court has been instrumental in promoting legal harmonization, ensuring access to justice and resolving disputes among Member States, ” the Minister said during the 11th January 2024 stakeholder meeting, which was attended by a cross-section of citizens including lawyers, security personnel, journalists, traders and representatives of women groups…

The Minister noted that by effectively exercising its mandates, the Court has played a pivotal role in upholding the rule of law, promoting human rights and fostering regional integration, noting that Ghana has demonstrated ‘unwavering support for the Court through active participation in its proceedings and adherence to its decisions.’

He added that the country’s proactive engagement exemplifies its dedication to upholding the rule of law and advancing justice within the region, a commitment that serves as a testament to the pivotal role the Court plays in promoting legal harmonization and resolving disputes within the Community.

He said the programme holds immense importance as it will help to further understanding of the ECOWAS legal framework, enable recognition of the pivotal role of the Court in improving regional integration and relations among Member States, and its contribution to a unified and prosperous West African Community.

Earlier, the President of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante had described the meeting as one of the elements of a weeklong campaign being undertaken in the country within the context of the Court’s citizen engagement programme and intended to improve their knowledge of the various dimensions of the Court.

Justice Asante, who led the Court’s delegation to the country, said in the message delivered by the Head of Legal Services and Research of the Court, Mr. Apraku Nketiah, that the campaign has been deliberately structured to address the needs of the various segments of the population as part of the process of promoting the ownership of the Court by Member States and the citizens.

Four papers were presented by members of the delegation at the meeting. The first paper provided an overview of the Court followed by other papers on the practice and procedure of the Court and representation before the Court; Human Rights mandate and jurisdiction of the Court; Enforcement of the decisions of the Court and Relationship between the Court and National Courts.

Before the opening ceremony of the meeting, the delegation had been received by a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ambassador Perpetua Dufu during which the delegation presented publications and souvenirs of the Court to the ministry.

Mrs. Dufu, who is the Coordinating Director for Multilateral and International Organisation in the Ministry acknowledged the important role of the Court in the region’s integration through the growing and enviable jurisprudence.

Other elements of the sensitization in the country included radio and television interviews and engagements with Law Students of the University of Ghana and the Ghana Bar Association.