The Court is composed of five independent judges chosen from among persons of high moral character, who must be nationals of ECOWAS Member States and must possess the qualifications for appointment to the Supreme Court or the highest judicial office, or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law, especially community law or law of regional integration. In addition, they must have at least twenty years professional experience. They have a four-year term non-renewable. Judges or members of the Court cannot be regarded as representatives of their Governments or government of any other ECOWAS member state.
The Judges cannot be constrained in the exercise of their function by any Member State or Institution of ECOWAS. In addition, they cannot be subject to injunction by stakeholders of the Community. They make their decisions or rulings with complete impartiality and independence. It is this functional independence of the Court, which allows it to play a fundamental role in resolving conflicts between stakeholders in the Community.
The Judicial Council of the Community is responsible for the recruitment and discipline of the Judges of the Court of Justice. The Judicial Council shall shortlist and interview candidates for the post of Judge of the Court of Justice, and shall recommend successful candidates to the Authority for appointment.
The number of judges was reduced from seven to five in 2018.
The first seven judges of the Court were sworn in on 30th January 2001 in Bamako, Mali, ten years after the adoption of the 1991 Protocol on the Court, which came into force on 5th November 1996.
b- Tenure of Judges
Judges are appointed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government, from nationals of Member States for a four (4) year non-renewable tenure. The President of the Court heads the institution with the support of the Vice-President.