Ekweremadu wants ECOWAS court to try coup plotters, terrorists
September 27, 2012 18:05
Abuja, Sept. 27, 2012 (NAN) ECOWAS Parliament Speaker Ike Ekweremadu has advocated the enlargement of the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court to address the challenges of military coups and terrorism in the sub-region.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Uche Anichukwu, his Special Adviser on Media, in Abuja on Thursday.
The statement said that Ekweremadu made the suggestion at the opening of the 2012/2013 legal year of the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
Ekweremadu expressed regrets that national parliaments of some member states were prevailed upon by local exigencies to pardon coups plotters.
He, however, said that with the enlargement of the powers of the court, ECOWAS would ensure that usurpers of constitutional powers were eventually brought to book.
The Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President said the trial and punishment of coup plotters at the sub-regional level was `a necessary tool’ for forestalling unconstitutional attempts at powers.
``The 2005 Supplementary Protocol on the Community Court of Justice had improved on the judicial welfare of individuals, groups and corporate bodies in the sub-region.
``But the ECOWAS Court needs to be repositioned in terms of scope and effective enforcement of the court’s verdicts to promote democracy, integration and development,’’ he said.
According to him, it is the desire of the ECOWAS Parliament to see a community court of justice whose powers and jurisdiction covers the trial and punishment for crimes against humanity.
He said the crime should include: genocide; cross border terrorism, violation of ECOWAS Conventions and Protocols; sea piracy on West African waters, cross border money laundering, drug and human trafficking in the sub-region.
The President of the Court, Justice Awa Nana, declared the 2012/2013 Legal Year open and decried the non-referral to the court by member states, cases that bordered on the interpretation of ECOWAS Community texts of Protocols.
``It is also of great concern to the court that only three member states have appointed the competent national authority for the enforcement of the decisions of the court as prescribed by the supplementary protocol,’’ she said.
The president noted that the primacy of ECOWAS Community Law could only be achieved through the cooperation of member states. (NAN)