The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice filed over 60 cases in 2018, the highest number in a single year in the Court’s history,this is according to a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by the President of the Court, Justice Edward Asante.
The court’s president in a New Year message, said this was compared to the 47 cases filed in 2017 and 45 in 2016.He stated that a total of 115 cases were pending, by the end of 2018, compared to 89 in 2017 and 63 in 2016.
He added that this represented an increase in the number of pending cases before the court.
He said the number of judgments delivered by the court also increased to 31 in 2018, higher than the 19 delivered in 2017 and the 29 delivered in 2016. He further noted that there was an improvement in the number of court sessions held in 2018 which increased to 85 from 79 in 2017 although much lower than the 105 held in 2016, which was a historic high in the court’s history.”
Asante further added that the new threshold was evidence of the “increasing confidence in the court” by citizens in addressing their human rights violation.
He decried the decision to reduce the number of judges of the Court from seven to five at a time of increase in the number of cases pending before the court.
He, however, pledged the commitment of the judges, who assumed duty in August 2018, to faithfully discharge their responsibilities while adding that they would ensure that justice was done in a timely manner in spite of the reduction as well as the insufficient facilities.
“We have already lined up a host of cases to deliver judgments in January when the judges return from their Christmas vacation to demonstrate the resolve to make a difference,” he said.
He gave an assurance of the court’s determination to work with member states to resolve the issue of the enforcement of its decisions.
He further said the court was considering options for engaging with member states and the relevant authorities to address the concerns to enable the court’s effectiveness towards regional integration, peace and security.
He also said the court was holding engagements with Nigeria to provide a suitable accommodation for the court in line with its obligation under the headquarters agreement to host the court.