ECOWAS human rights

New Cooperation Underway in West Africa to Promote Fair and Efficient Justice


The Raoul Wallenberg Institute has entered into a cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice.

The overall objective of the cooperation is to promote fair and efficient justice and adherence to the rule of law, thereby contributing to strengthened implementation of human rights commitments in Africa.

The Institute met recently with a senior delegation from the court in Abuja, Nigeria to sign the memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

President of the Court, Hon. Justice Jérôme Traoré handing over the signed MoU to Chris Muthuri, Senior Programme Officer, RWI

The cooperation looks to increase the ability of the Community Court of Justice (CCJ) to exercise human rights-related mandates, including through strengthening the understanding and capacity of the CCJ and related stakeholders.

“In summary, increased implementation of human rights commitments in the region is seen as a key determinant for upholding good governance and respect for the rule of law, which in turn is considered essential for the region to tackle existing development challenges,” says Chris Muthuri, Senior Programme Officer at RWI’s Regional Africa Programme based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The CCJ has increasingly decided high-profile cases within its jurisdiction giving effect to regional human rights standards. The court has in this way provided new ways of litigating human rights and become a new focus of attention and advocacy for human rights lawyers and civil society groups. However, the court has faced some problems around insufficient implementation of its decisions that this cooperation looks to work on. Specific challenges have revolved around exposure of their work in their member countries, enforcement of decisions, inadequate financial resources, among others.

At the Court Room with the Registrars and Director of Research

RWI’s Regional Africa Programme is in its inception phase with a strong emphasis on mutual collaboration and wide-ranging consultation to co-create the programme framework. This involves working with all CCJ stakeholders, leveraging on their participation in design to develop strategies for the challenges.

The CCJ was led by the Honourable President of the Court, Hon. Justice Jérôme Traoré. Three other judges, The Hon. Justice Hamèye Founé Mahalmadane (Dean), Hon. Justice Yaya Boiro, and Hon. Justice Maria Do Ceu Silva Monteiro were present in the discussions. The Chief Registrar, Tony Anene-Maidoh, Deputy Chief Registrar, Head of Protocol and several Directors were also present in the meeting where agreements were made on the MoU.

RWI’s Regional Africa Programme, which is financially supported by Swedish Development Cooperation, is currently in its inception phase with a strong emphasis on mutual collaboration and wide-ranging consultation to co-create the programme framework.