INAUGURAL OUTREACH PROGRAMME OF ECOWAS COURT LAUNCHED IN SIERRA LEONE
A delegation of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, led by its President, Honorable Justice Edward Asante, arrived in Freetown on Thursday, 7th March 2019 for the beginning of a week long outreach programme that will enable the Court to engage with all its critical stakeholders’ as part of it’s efforts to bolster it’s sensitization, citizen engagement and advocacy campaigns.
The Court already undertakes sensitization and Radio as well as TV programmes in four Member States annually which provide the mechanism for engaging with citizens as well as external court sessions which beyond it’s value of bringing justice nearer to citizens, also helps to create citizen awareness of the Court.
While in the country, the delegation, which also includes judges and staff of the Registry, Research and Documentation Department of the Court, will undertake a sensitization campaign, Town Hall and Judicial dialogue with the country’s Judges to engage them on how improve synergy in delivering justice in the two jurisdictions.
The sensitisation component will be attended by Members of the country’s Bar Association, Officials of the Immigration, Customs and Police services, Journalists, representative of Civil Society Organisations, Academics including Deans of the Faculties of Law, ECOWAS National Office, Ambassadors of ECOWAS Member States, Students, Women Groups and Officials from the Ministry of Justice.
These groups will be joined by Market women for the town hall meeting while the Special Forum for Lawyers and Law Students will bring together Lawyers in both public and private practice, Deans of the Law schools, Law Lecturers and Law students from Universities and Law Schools.
“This inaugural outreach by the Court is the most expansive campaign by the Court since it’s inception to engage with its stakeholders and in response the to the yearnings of the citizens for a more visible Court whose jurisprudence is more pervasive in terms of impact,’ Honorable Justice Asante said.
The President said that twelve cases have been received from citizens from Sierra Leone against the government since the inception of the Court with judgment delivered in six of them while two were dismissed, one withdrawn and three pending.
He said that the campaign, to be followed with another in Liberia next week and a third in June in Cape Verde is evidence of the Court’s determination to reinforce it’s engagement with the citizens.
Included in the campaign is an advocacy component involving visits to government officials of the host Member State which will provide an opportunity to discuss the role of the Court in promoting regional peace and security through the exercise of its human rights mandate and the challenges militating against its effectiveness.