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alt ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE PLEADS FOR REFERRAL FOR PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION 

The President of the ECOWAS Court, Hon. Justice Jerome Traoré has lamented the lack of referrals to the Court by Member States for the interpretation of Community texts, notably the Treaty, other Protocols and Regulations, noting that such referrals would have contributed towards strengthening the integration of the region.

Under the 2005 Supplementary Protocol on the Court, National Courts may on their own or at the request of parties to an action, refer issues related to the interpretation of Community Texts to the Community Court.

In comments at a two day seminar The National Judge and Community Law, organised by the sister Court for the eight-member Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA), the President said that none of such referrals have been received by the regional court unlike its counterpart UEMOA Court which has received five.

The President also spoke on the vexed issue of the enforcement of the decisions of the Court and called for concerted efforts by the stakeholders, including the intensive sensitization of critical segments of the citizenry, towards addressing this challenge, which is common to both courts.

He told the participants, which included the Heads of the Supreme Courts and Bar Associations of UEMOA member States that improved enforcement of the decisions of both Courts will impact positively on citizen perception and confidence in the Courts.

The host of the seminar and President of the UEMOA Court, Mrs. Joséphine EBAH TOURE, spoke on the sources of Community law, the linkage between the Judge at the national courts and those at the community level, particularly on the issue of referrals.

Participants also discussed the referral for preliminary determination provided for in the Rules of Procedure of the two courts of justice

In another paper, a judge of the UEMOA Court, Justice Augusto Mendes, who spoke on the “Execution of judicial decisions", noted the difficulties of execution by the parties, particularly the member states, of judgments delivered by the UEMOA Court.

He noted that the judicial procedure at UEMOA level does not provide clear solutions for the execution of judicial decisions and that Community law relies on the good faith of the statutory bodies and the States for the execution of the decisions of the UEMOA Court with the attendant risks.