The ECOWAS citizen in a dilemmaThe role of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in the promotion of human rights in West Africa

Authored by: George Asare-Afriyie

The Routledge Handbook of African Law

Print publication date:  November  2021
Online publication date:  November  2021

Print ISBN: 9780815350682
eBook ISBN: 9781351142366
Adobe ISBN:


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There have been several instances where citizens of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) have faced dilemmas about the proper court in which to initiate human rights violation proceedings. However, the ECOWAS Court has a specific mandate, and that should be the focus in considering the proper forum for human rights litigations by ECOWAS citizens. Though the Court continues to play critical roles in the protection of human rights in recent times, it is crucial that it remains circumspect and does not unduly submit to public pressure, or else it will overreach its mandate. This chapter contributes to the current discourse about the ECOWAS Court and its expanding jurisdiction by recapturing the creation, composition, mandate, applicable laws, and overarching jurisdiction. A reappraisal of these fundamentals helps in streamlining ECOWAS citizens’ approaches to the court.

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