How Binding Is The Ecowas Court’s Ruling On Its Member States?



Though the 1975 treaty and the revised treaty of 1993 of the Ecowas court, coupled with all its protocols, state that all decisions from the Ecowas court shall be binding on its member states; however, we have observed a little or no compliance of the court’s ruling where Liberia is adjudged liable, and mandated to pay damages to the plaintiff.  I can recall when retired Justice Philip A.Z Banks served as Attorney General of Liberia, he arrested a Nigerian man named Valentine Ayeka on allegation of money laundering, and arbitrarily used the man’s money on Security Operations in the amount of (US$ 500,000). This matter was heard and adjudged at the Ecowas court. The court ordered the government under former President Sirleaf to pay back the man’s money. Cllr. Syrenius Cephus was the lawyer for Mr. Ayeka. Ellen’s government did not pay a dime. 

Secondly, Dr. George S. Boley filed a complaint with the Ecowas court during the reign of former president Sirleaf on violation of his Human Rights, stating further that he served as Vice Chairman of the Transitional Council in 1995, and is therefore entitled to pension. The Ecowas court ordered the Liberian government to pay in damages the amount of (US$ 726,982) to Dr. George Boley. Since the rendition of the court’s ruling, the Liberian government has not paid a dime to him.

Thirdly, the former first lady of Liberia, Mrs. Nancy B. Doe, filed a compliant with the Ecowas court alleging violation of her Human Rights, regarding her deceased husband’s property and bank accounts which are yet to be given to her. The court ordered the government of Liberia to pay in damages to the plaintiff ( Mrs. Nancy Doe), the amount of ( US$ 18,000,000). Since the rendition of this ruling, the government of Liberia has not pay a dime of the 18 million.

Judging from the past and looking at the way in which the previous government overlooked or ignored the Ecowas court’s ruling, I am thinking if this current government would abide by the court’s ruling regarding the judgement of the court, ordering the government to pay ( US$ 200,000) to Cllr. Kabineh M. Janeh or  reinstate him as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  Assuming that the government of Liberia does not adhere to the Ecowas court’s ruling, what is or are the legal ramifications thereof? Where are the legal scholars- lawyers and law students? What is your opinion on the matter? 

Note: This post is void of any political undertone; it is purely legal and contingent on what I have read, and what has been the government of Liberia reaction to most judgements of the Ecowas court.

Lawrence Chea

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