African, ECOWAS courts exchange visits, share expertise

The African Court with its seat in Arusha Tanzania is currently on a week-long working visit to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court at its seat in Abuja, Nigeria.

The two Courts had renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which endorses the continuous exchange of information on court procedures, processes and expertise while harmonizing their roles in the provision of justice across the continent.

Exchange on judicial procedures and how certain challenges which are unique to the Court systems are overcome was part of the MoU.

Leading the 13-member delegation from African Court, Head of Legal Unit Dr Horace Sègnonna Adjolohoun said the visit is clear evidence that the two Courts take their complementary roles seriously and are committed to improving their respective processes and procedures through sharing of best practices.

“The African Court and ECOWAS Court have many common areas of interest as we both seek to strengthen our work and improve global jurisprudence. We are hoping to exchange on judicial procedures but also have our respective units engage each other and share expertise on specific areas of operations such as how certain challenges which are unique to the Court systems are overcome,” he said.

Dr Adjolohoun expressed optimism that the exchange visit will further strengthen the dialogue of judges between the two judicial institutions, thereby improving the quality of jurisprudence, in the interest of the African citizens.   

While welcoming the delegation, Vice President of ECOWAS Court, Hon. Justice Gberi-Bè Ouattara expressed satisfaction at the existing warm relationship between the two Courts whose roles reinforce each other in promoting human rights and the rule of law.

He said the visit would not only cement the collaboration but activate the necessary steps for implementation of all agreements made in the Memorandum of Understanding.

Chief Registrar of the ECOWAS Court Dr Yaouza Ouro-Sama, stressed that the judicial cooperation agreement between the two Courts goes beyond improving systems as it benefits the African continent in improvement and advancing delivery of justice.

“Learning from systems that are efficient and working while also drawing lessons from challenges faced by the Courts gives us an opportunity to serve the African continent with judicial diligence while being mindful of those that the Courts exists to serve,” he said.

During the week, the two courts are scheduled to have dialogue on implementation of decisions of the Courts, mechanisms of enforcing decisions, human rights jurisprudence among others.