High Commissioner of the Sierra Leone High Commission in Accra, Ghana has on Monday 21st March attended the official opening ceremony of the 11th External Court Session of the Economic Community of West African States Community, ECOWAS Court of Justice.
The ceremony was opened by the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the Law Court Complex, Accra, Ghana.
Welcoming the attendees, Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, His Lordship Justice Anin Yeboah expressed joy over such an event being held in his country for the first time adding that it is a step in the right direction as it will foster a closer relationship between the Court and the Judiciary of Ghana.
According to Justice Yeboah, the session in Accra will also create a greater awareness among citizens as witnesses of the ECOWAS Community, while noting that the court is the principal legal organ of the body to facilitate integration process of the Community with regards treaties supervision and other oversight functions. The session, he went on to say, offers members of the Ghanaian Bar the opportunity to observe an international Court in session.
He called for a review on a decision taken in 2017 which had the number of Judges reduced from seven to five, as he said the court requires adequate number of judges in executing their mandate well without any delay.
In his statement, the Hon. Justice Edward Amoako Asante, President of the Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS said the external Courts session will create awareness about the court, its mandates and procedures and also offer the court the opportunity to deepen the relationship between it and the national Courts.
The President of the Ecowas Court admonished all present that the Ecowas Court is not an appellate court over national Courts of member states.
While officially opening the session, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo –Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of Ecowas, expressed delight over his country playing host to such an important session while assuring them of the necessary support in having smooth sessions throughout.
He said the ECOWAS Court of Justice has a strategic role to play in the integration process of ECOWAS and it must be ready at all times to assume additional responsibilities.
President Akufo-Addo in addition spoke on the concerns of many stakeholders regarding the reduction of the number of Judges of the court and noted that it will be appropriate to have a second look into such decision in order to review the merits of the composition of the court to seven members.
The President of Ghana, concluded by stating that it is his hope and the hope of all believers of the rule of law that the Court will continue to grow from strength to strength while wishing everyone a peaceful stay in Accra.
Goodwill statements from representatives of the ECOWAS to the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana Bar Association, ECOWAS Commission, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, commended the work of the court over the years since it commenced the External court session in 2007 while hoping that the 11th Session being held in Accra will be very successful just as it was in other countries such as Niger, Mali, Benin in Nigeria and twice in Cote d’ivoire.
The 11th External Court session of the Community Court of Justice , ECOWAS will be held between the 21st of March to 1st April 2022 with a number of cases to be presided over by the Five Judges of the court of which Sierra Leonean Honorable Justice Keikura Bangura is a member, with a total number of 60 cases including 25 judgements to be delivered.