alt OPENING CEREMONY OF THE ADMINISTRATION AND BUDGET RETREAT: The President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice points out the difficulties faced by the Court in the course of the year 2017

The ECOWAS Community court experienced a ‘difficult period  in its funding during the first two quarters of 2017 characterised by insufficiency of funds for implementing the activities envisaged under its work programme for the year,’ the President of the court has said.

In a speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the Administration and Budget Retreat of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, held at Goshen City, Nasarawa State, on Monday 10 July 2017, Hon. Justice Jérôme Traoré, the situation was caused by delays in the disbursement of the Court’s portion of the Community levy which funds the activities of the Community.

In order to adapt to the reality, the President said the Court was compelled to suspend the implementation of certain programmes and activities of the Court scheduled for the year as it had to sustain its operations from funds released from its first quarter allocation.

According to him this involved the resort to creative ways in order to sustain its operations including the adoption of ‘restrictive measures of expenditure containment’ while focusing on  some crucial expenses, notably the settlement of debts,  payment of staff benefits and entitlements and the procurement of essential equipment.

He however expressed the hope that arears of the levy due the court will be paid before the  end of the year 2017, to enable it undertake the proposed activities because of their value to the court,  particularly the sensitisation programme, the international conference and the external court session, will still come on.

He urged participants at the retreat to deploy this experience  and opportunity to reflect  on those programmes and activities most likely to have a positive impact on the visibility and credibility of the Court, so as to enhance the Community citizens´ awareness of the Court and what it stands for, and also help improve upon our relations with the domestic courts, the international courts, and the legal practitioners in our Member States.”

The objective of the retreat was to conduct an assessment on how the Court fared in the administrative and financial management of the Institution during the past year, examine the Court’s budget for the coming legal year, and possibly, make the necessary recommendations towards improving upon both the administrative and financial management of the Court.

Apart from the opening ceremony, the first day of the retreat was equally marked by various presentations on the extent of execution of the activities embarked upon by the various Departments of the Court.

At the end of the three-day work session, participants will equally present the status of implementation of the 2017 Budget of the Court and propose a draft outline budget of the Court for the year 2018.

Participants at the Administration and Budget Retreat included the Honourable Judges, the Directors and Heads of Division of the Court, and a significant number of the support staff of the Court.