A delegation from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights led by the Head of its Legal Division, Dr Sègnonna Horace Adjolohoun are on a working visit to the Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS from 22 – 26 April, 2024.

The peer-to-peer exchange visit is part of a judicial cooperation agreement signed by both Courts that allows exchange of procedural and judicial information and is aimed at strengthening their complimentary roles for the benefit of the citizens of West Africa and Africa as a whole.

Receiving the delegation from the African Court in his cabinet on Monday, 22 April, 2024, Honourable Justice Gberi-Bè Ouattara, Vice President of ECOWAS Court said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will strengthen cooperation and improve the jurisprudence of both Courts.

Justice Ouattara who represented the president of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante added that exchange visits are an important opportunity for the ECOWAS Court to strengthen its international cooperation for best practice and that the outcome document would also be useful for future reference.

In his welcome statement, Dr Yaouza Ouro-Sama, Chief Registrar of the ECOWAS Court highlighted the importance of the collaboration and knowledge sharing between both institutions in advancing justice delivery in the ECOWAS subregion and the continent of Africa.

According to him, the MoU between both institutions “engages the parties to cooperate in the areas of common interest in terms of exchange of personnel, reciprocal representation, information sharing, research, communication, re-enforcement of capacities and resource mobilization.”

He added that the periodic exchange between the institutions will result in exchange on developments in jurisprudence, case management system, evolution of judicial practice post COVID – 19, research methods, legal aid, language services, library and documentation services, human resource management and procurement.

In his remarks, Dr Adjolohoun thanked the management of the Court for the warm welcome accorded them. He expressed his optimism that the outcome document on this thematic exchange visit will be presented for adoption and implementation.

He applauded the emerging synergy between both Courts adding that such collaboration will enable them to surmount similar challenges facing them.

As part of the five-day programme, both Courts will present an overview of their institution and common areas of interest including case management, implementation of decisions of the Courts, human rights jurisprudence of the Courts and mechanism for enforcement of their decisions and a review of recent developments in the jurisprudence of both Courts. Both Courts will also share experiences and explore areas of collaboration.

On the first day of the visit, the delegation from the African Court paid courtesy visit on other judges of the ECOWAS Court, witnessed a hybrid court session and took a tour of the ECOWAS Court building.

Dr Adjolohoun who heads the Legal Division of the African Court was accompanied by other senior officers of the African Court including Mrs Anipha Mwingira, Special Assistant to the President, Dr Mwiza Joy Nkhata, Principal Legal Officer and Head, Research and Capacity Building Unit, among others.

Participants from the ECOWAS Court include Dr Athanase Atannon, Deputy Chief Registrar; Mr Aboubakar Diakite, Registrar, Case Management, and other registrars, heads of units and legal officers of the Court. The weeklong programme will be concluded with visits to the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

A similar working visit was paid by a delegation of the ECOWAS Court to the African Court in Arusha, Tanzania in June 2023 during which both institutions renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).