Justice Dupe Atoki of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice on Sunday said that ECOWAS member States had implemented over 50 per cent of judgements passed within 2018/2019 judicial year.
She disclosed this in an interview with journalists at the end of the 11th Judicial Retreat held in Goshen, Nasarawa State.
She said that based on the data, there was an improvement in the implementation of judgements compared to previous years.
She noted that more advocacy would be done for 100 per cent implementation.
“Not all judgements require to be executed and not all judgements are against members states, so we must take out of the various judgments that we have delivered to identify which number of them should be implemented.
“What we’ve been doing is just to say we have delivered 200 judgments and only ten have been implemented, but we have come to a realisation that we must segment the enforceable judgments away from declaratory judgment.
“Then we will be able to situate the implementation but from what we have gathered in our data, we believe that members state have actually gone beyond 50 per cent of implementation of judgments.
”It’s not the best, but we are getting to the stage where they are beginning to understand the importance and we will continue the advocacy to them in knowing that we need 100 per cent implementation of judgements.”
She, however, said that the retreat was to allow judges and senior officers to deliberate on a lot of issues that would help them provide justice for the ECOWAS citizens.
Ms Atoki said that one of the main issues for deliberation was the provision of legal aid to low-income earners, who couldn’t afford lawyers.
“But, I think that one of the most important areas that we deliberated on was finding legal aid for poor applicants because we do know that violation of human rights is suffered by low-income earners.
“They don’t have the necessary financial strength to support their complaints at the court and for us to ensure that justice gets to the grassroots, we deliberated at length on the possibility of finding legal aid for applicants that are not in the position to do so.”
She said that a committee had been set up to work out the modalities and see the possibility of finalising it to look at where the funding could be gotten and the criteria for accessing the funds.
Ms Atoki said that the committee would engage lawyers who would support the process for the applicants and pay the lawyers the fees, but in the form of subventions to legal fees.