The President of the ECOWAS Court, Honorable Justice Edward Amoako Asante on Monday, 13th May 2024 challenged participants in the 2024 international conference of the Court to suggest measures for strengthening synergies with national courts that will contribute to the resolution of the existing lacuna in their relationship.

In a welcome address at the opening of the conference in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the President said the four day conference offers ‘another golden opportunity to deepen the fraternal relations between the court and national stakeholders within the context of the collaboration required to achieve  an integrated community legal order that is consistent with the integration objectives of the Community.

He recalled that the Court has over the years ‘made strenuous efforts to deepen fraternal relations with the national stakeholders within the limits of its budgetary provisions and basic texts, and has striven to maintain cordial relations, and collaboration with the national stakeholders, through its  jurisprudence and programs.’

Among them are the Court’s external sessions held outside the seat the Court, the hosting of international conferences, sensitization campaigns, training workshops and radio and television programs as well as the establishment of the West African Jurists Association, an umbrella organization for judges of the Court, judges of national courts and jurists from the region which was established in 2015.

He reiterated the long held position of the court that it is neither an appellate court over national courts nor does it review in abstracto, the national laws of the Member States and therefore not in competition with national courts which it relies on for the enforcement of its decisions.

Justice Asante said that the sub themes of the conference has therefore been designed to address the need to resolve the misconception about certain aspects of the jurisprudence of the regional court by resolving the perceived gaps in the normative framework of the ECOWAS and national courts in recognition of the primacy of Member States as the most important stakeholders of the Community.

Justice said in the choice of the theme, the intention of the Court is to “generate constructive discussions around the strengths and weaknesses of the Court’s relationship with various national stakeholders and explore practical solutions that can be adapted to strengthen such relationships in the interest of the Community.”

He expressed gratitude to President Julius Maada Bio for his support for the hosting of the conference and ‘graciously honoring us with your presence at this colourful opening ceremony and paid tribute to the local organizing committee for the arrangements made for the successful hosting of the conference.

The conference is a flagship activity of the Court which provides a forum for discussing issues of contemporary relevance to the Court and the Community.

The 2024 conference, which is being attended by 250 participants, is being held under the theme Enhancing the Role, Relevance and Effectiveness of the ECOWAS Court of Justice through the Strengthening of Synergies between the Court and National Stakeholders