ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE URGES IVORIAN JOURNALISTS TO HELP IN IMPROVING CITIZEN AWARENESS OF THE COURT

Honorable Justice Gberi-bè Ouattara, the Vice-President of the Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS has challenged Ivorian journalists to help ensure the comprehensive sensitization of Ivoirians on the Court so that they can avail themselves of its services, particularly its human rights jurisdiction.

Addressing journalists at a press conference to end the Court’s sensitization campaign in the country, the Vice-President noted that the journalists could only succeed in this task by familiarizing themselves with the mission, competence and procedures of the Court thereby helping the Court to effectively play its role in West Africa’s regional integration.

He used the opportunity to explain the rationale for the campaign as intended to help reduce ignorance of the 18 year old Court among the citizens as part of a renewed effort to acquaint stakeholders of the Court using such platforms sensitization as well as radio and television programmes.

He stressed the importance of creating the awareness of citizens that they can directly access the Court since the 2005 Supplementary Protocol unlike before when access was restricted to Member States and Community Institutions.

The Vice President explained that access to the Court by individuals came about as part of the evolution of the Court, particularly the expansion of its mandate to include human rights jurisdiction through which it has contributed to the consolidation of peace and the rule of law.

For human rights cases, the Vice President said the Court can only entertain them if the application to the Court must not be anonymous or pending before another equally competent international court.

The Vice President fielded questions at the end of the presentation most of which revolved around the mode of recruitment of the judges, access and functioning of the Court, access and facilities to indigent litigants and the enforcement of its decisions.