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ECOWAS ready to mediate electoral disputes

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By Hannah Dadzie

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has expressed readiness to mediate any election dispute or upheavals that may arise during elections in the sub-region. As Ghana and other countries within ECOWAS prepare to hold their general elections this year, the Court said it will monitor situations to help address any misunderstanding that may arise.

In an interview with GBC NEWS at a sensitisation programme for its stakeholders, Head of Legal Services and Research at the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Apraku Nketia, said the Court has over the year handled a number of cases successfully and urged concerned parties to always seek the court’s assistance to remedy situations.

For over three decades, the ECOWAS Court of Justice has been instrumental in promoting legal harmonisation, ensuring access to justice and resolving disputes among member states. The Court, therefore, plays a pivotal role in upholding the rule of law, promoting human rights and fostering regional integration.

The sensitisation programme served as a vital platform to bridge the gap between the Court and the citizens it serves, thereby enabling a greater understanding of the Court’s mandate, functions and avenues for redress. Head of Legal Services and Research at ECOWAS Court of Justice, Apraku Nketia, said it imperative for stakeholders to be knowledgeable about the rules of procedures of the Court to be able to seek redress when the need arises, especially in electoral matters as countries prepare for the polls.

“There is warnings morning committee that are sent into these countries to monitor, infractions over electoral laws and the rest. Once such infractions are flagged and then the people who are affected, let’s say if a political party thinks that some of the doings of certain government is not auguring well, they can come to remedy the situation and we’ve done it several times in Cote d’ivoire and other places. So the proactiveness of the people who are concerned in the electoral matters will also help the court in living up with this responsibilities but of course a matter of that is brought before the court under the protocol for democracy and good governance. There are so many provisions that regulate the conduct of elections in member countries and trust me if they are brought before the court we will try to make sure that respect is given to those provisions for the benefit of the citizens of the community,” Mr Apraku Nketia indicated.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, acknowledged the important role played by the Court in protecting human rights of ECOWAS citizens and gave assurance of Ghana’s commitment to upholding the principles of justice, unity, and progress within the ECOWAS community.

“Over the years, Ghana has demonstrated unwavering support for the ECOWAS Court of Justice through active participation in its proceedings, adherence to its decisions and collaboration with court’s mechanisms. The nation proactive engagement is exemplies its dedications to upholding the rule of law and advancing justice within the region. Ghana’s commitment serves as a testament to the pivotal role the court plays in promoting legal harmonization and resolving dispute within the ECOWAS community,” Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong stated.

Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong.

“This sensitisation program holds immense importance as it aspires to further our understanding of the ECOWAS legal framework, and its contribution to a unified and prosperous West African community. I urge all participants to actively engage in the discussions, leveraging this opportunity to deepen our understanding of the ECOWAS Court’s mechanisms,” the Deputy Minister added

The delegation of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, is in Ghana for a six-day sensitization campaign to engage with various stakeholders on various aspects of the Court.

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