AN APPRAISAL OF THE ROLE OF ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE IN THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER THE ECOWAS
This study examined the role of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (ECCJ) in the protection of human rights in the West African sub-region specifically, under the ECOWAS Treaties of 1975 and the Revised Treaty of 1993. The research focused on the ECOWAS treaties, Conventions and Protocols. However, references were made to similar international, regional and national treaties, conventions and protocols such as the United Nations Charter on Human Rights, European Economic Community and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights etc. The work examined the nature and scope of the ECOWAS mandate and its functions towards achieving the implementation of human rights in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice. In this premise, the ECOWAS organs responsible for the execution of the treaties, protocols and conventions were discussed with a view to understanding how human rights issues were adjudicated upon in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice as well as how they solved any noticeable problems in the implementation of these treaties, conventions and protocols. In this vein, a doctrinal method of research was adopted to achieve this goal by analyzing the nature and scope of not only the human rights concepts, but also examined the nature and scope of the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court of Justice. This was done by the use of both primary and secondary sources of information such as the ECOWAS treaty of 1975, the revised treaty of 1993, ECOWAS protocols and conventions as well as other international and regional community laws as they applied to their respective regions. Since we were studying the role of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in the protection of human rights under its treaty, we also considered the contributions made by academic scholars on the subject matter, such as in text books, journals, articles in magazines, newspapers and most importantly, some case law reports from the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice’s decisions. More significantly was the analysis undertaken in respect of the rules of procedure and evidence in the ECOWAS Court of justice and the access to justice for the citizens of the ECOWAS member states. That was why it was considered imperative to examine some of the selected case laws adjudicated by the ECOWAS Court of Justice. It was based on the above that at conclusion of this work, we brought out the problems inherent in the implementation of the ECOWAS Treaty as it affected human rights protection with a view to solving them by making reasonable suggestions and recommendations. It was hope that this would also contribute to knowledge on this area on significantly benefit Researchers, students, human rights organization all ECOWAS member states, Africa and the world at large.