The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States will handle 32 cases in the second quarter of 2015, between May and July, according to records released by the registry department of the court.
The court is the principal legal organ of the ECOWAS region with a mandate that includes the interpretation of community texts and cases involving the violation of the human rights of citizens.
The cases, mostly judgments, rulings and oral hearings, are mainly for human rights violations involving Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia and other member states.
In one of the cases with suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/06/12, concerning Vincent Agu and 19 others, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and 5 others, the plaintiffs are asking the court to hold the Nigerian government and five others ‘negligent’ and in violation of their human rights for not clearing, removing and destroying landmines and explosives from the country’s civil war.
In the case to be heard on June 12, 2015, the plaintiffs are alleging that the negligence of the Nigerian government by not removing the remnants of the explosives of the 1967 civil war has continued to pose serious threats to their physical and mental well-being, including massive injuries and maiming of the civilian population living in the various communities.
In another case against the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, Farouk Choukeir and another are claiming CFA7 billion in damages on behalf of their company, SITEX from the government for denying them their right to fair hearing and violating their economic rights due to the malfunction of the country’s judicial public service.
The court would be delivering its judgment on the case on June 30, 2015, according to the court registry.
In a similar case with suit No. ECW/CCJ/APP/06/14 against the Republic of Liberia and four others, Hans Williams and another citizen are asking the court to award $500,000 in ‘compensatory damages’ against the defendants for alleged violation of their right to life and fair hearing.
In the case for which judgement has been scheduled for July 7, 2015, the plaintiffs alleged that their conviction and sentencing to hanging as a result of a negligent autopsy report by one of the defendants violated their right to life, freedom of movement and fair hearing.
The plaintiffs are urging the court to rule that the exercise violated Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
All the 32 cases would be heard by panels of three or five judges drawn from the seven members of the court’s college of judges comprising Justices Maria Do Céu Silva Monteiro (President), Chijioke Nwoke (Vice President), and Jérôme Traoré (Dean).
Other members of the Court include Micah Wright, Yaya Boiro, Hamey Mahalmadane, and Alioune Sall.
Meanwhile, the court said the case by Islamic Centre against Nigeria’s Niger State Attorney General has been adjourned for hearing till September 22, 2015.
The case was brought by Mainu Hamdallahi Islamic Centre and two others against state government and two others for the alleged violation of its human rights following the ‘unlawful destruction of its properties.’
The adjournment of the case by the three-member panel was to enable the defendants respond to the amended application by the plaintiffs.
In suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/18/14, the plaintiffs are claiming unspecified damages for the unlawful destruction of their properties, including classrooms, fish ponds, houses and farm lands.
The plaintiffs, who accused the government of depriving them of their legitimately acquired land as well as the arbitrary arrest and detention of its officials, are seeking an order by the court to reinstate their ownership of the land and protection of their fundamental rights.
The plaintiffs are alleging that dispossessing of the land violated Articles 14, and 21 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other legal instruments relating to their right to own property, freedom of movement, and dignity of the human person.
The preliminary objection of the defendants in the case was originally slated for hearing, but the judges noted that it was overtaken by the motion by the plaintiffs seeking to amend their original application.
One of the counsels, M.T. Mohammed, representing the plaintiffs, said the motion for the amendment of its original application was filed to enable them include additional facts, clarify the roles of the officials involved in the alleged acts and additional names of people whose rights were allegedly violated.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned to September 22, 2015 for hearing after the defendants requested for time to react to the motion.
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