Gambia Hosts Ecowas Judicial Council Meeting

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Officials at the Banjul Meeting

Through the office of the Chief Justice of The Gambia, the Gambia is hosting the Ecowas Judicial Council’s subcommittee meeting. This committee is responsible for examining the Council’s rule of procedure and all related matters to improve its effectiveness and efficiency.

Stepping in for the President of the Ecowas Commission, Miatta Lily French, the Ecowas Resident Representative in The Gambia, underscores the importance of the Community Court and the need for regular meetings of the Ecowas Judicial Council to address key issues.

“In addition, the current situation in the ECOWAS region underscores the need to strengthen the justice sector to enhance its capacity to dispense justice and uphold the Rule of Law and Human Rights. We live in a dynamic world where, as the saying goes, “Change is the only constant.” This, therefore, highlights the need for any entity to constantly strategize to meet the dynamic situations that present themselves.”

Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the Ecowas Judicial Council hopes the recommendations from this meeting will make the Council more productive.

Justice Hassan B Jallow, Chief Justice of The Gambia, said access to speedy and quality Justice by Ecowas citizens is undoubtedly an essential element of the good governance to which the organization is Committed. He advocates continuing to strengthen the Judicial Council in its mandate. 

“We shall continue strengthening its institutions and procedures to benefit the community’s citizens. We acknowledge and indeed welcome the community’s support in establishing appropriate mechanisms and procedures to secure accountability for serious crimes identified by The Gambia’s Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission and as accepted by The Gambia government in its White Paper.”

Chief Justice Jallow said the Community Court of Justice has evolved from solely an interstate Court adjudicating disputes between its member states.

“We should consider vesting the ECOWAS Court with the jurisdiction to prosecute all persons who commit serious international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes against the environment and national resources, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, sexual and gender-based crimes to name a few.”

The meeting in Banjul is a direct result of a gathering in Abuja in February 2024. During this meeting, a five-member committee, including Benin, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone, was formed. Their task was to consider and submit recommendations to the General Council to enhance the rules of procedure and the legal framework of the Council.

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