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A New International Human Rights Court for West Africa: The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice

  • Karen J. Alter (a1), Laurence Helfer and Jacqueline R. McAllister (a2)

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The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Court) is an increasingly active and bold adjudicator of human rights. Since acquiring jurisdiction over human rights complaints in 2005, the ECOWAS Court has issued numerous decisions condemning human rights violations by the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (Community). Among this Court’s path-breaking cases are judgments against Niger for condoning modern forms of slavery and against Nigeria for impeding the right to free basic education for all children. The ECOWAS Court also has broad access and standing rules that permit individuals and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to bypass national courts and file suits directly with the Court. Although the Court is generally careful in the proof that it requires of complainants and in the remedies that it demands of governments, it has not shied away from politically courageous decisions, such as rulings against the Gambia for the torture of journalists and against Nigeria for failing to regulate multinational companies that have degraded the environment of the oil-rich Niger Delta.

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1 Fifteen nations are currently members of ECOWAS: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Coôte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

2 A list of all judgments and rulings of the ECOWAS Court, as well as copies of selected decisions, are available on the Court’s website. ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, List of Decided Cases from 2004 Till Date, at http://www.courtecowas.org/site2012/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=157&Itemid=27. The first five years of judgments and rulings have been published in an official reporter, but it is not widely available. 2004–2009 Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS Law Report (2011). Selected decisions, some in unofficial translation, are available on other online databases. E.g., Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, African Human Rights Case Law Database, at http://www1.chr.up.ac.za/index.php/browse-by-institution/ECOWAS-ccj.html; WorldCourts, ECOWAS Community Court of Justice: Decisions, at http://www.worldcourts.com/ecowasccj/eng/.

3 E.g., Polgreen, Lydia, Court Rules Niger Failed by Allowing Girl’s Slavery, N.Y. Times, Oct. 28, 2008, at A 6; ECOWAS Court Orders Gambia to Pay Musa Saidykhan $200,000 in Landmark Case, JOLLOFNEWS (Dec. 16, 2010), at http://www.jollofnews.com/human-rights/1629-ecowas-court-orders-gambia-to-pay-musa-saidykhan-200000-?in-landmark-case-; African Child Information Hub, West Africa: ECOWAS Court Orders Nigeria to Provide Free Education for Every Child (Dec. 2, 2010), at http://www.africanchildinfo.net/index.php?option=com_k 2&view=item&id=5046%3Awest-africa-ecowas-court-orders-nigeria-to-provide-free-education-for-every-child&Itemid=67&lang=en#; Amnesty International, Nigeria: Ground-Breaking Judgment Calls for Punishing Oil Companies over Pollution (Dec. 17, 2012), at http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-ground-breaking-judgment-calls-punishing-oil-companies-over-pollution-2012-12-17.

4 Asante, S.K.B., Economic Community of West African States, in The Oxford Companionto Politics of the World 233, 234 (Krieger, Joeël ed., 2d ed. 2001).

5 See, e.g., Aning, Emmanuel Kwesi, Investing in Peace and Security in Africa: The Case of ECOWAS, in Security and Development: Investing in Peace and Prosperity 337, 351 (Picciotto, Robert & Weaving, Rachel eds., 2006); Osaghae, Eghosa E., Human Rights and Transition Societies in West Africa, in Human Rights and Societies Intransition: Causes, Consequences, Responses, 315, 315 (Horowitz, Shale Asher& Schnabel, Albrecht eds., 2004); Souaré, Issaka K., Civil Wars and Coups D’ÉTat in West Africa: An Attempt to Understand the Roots and Prescribe Possible Solutions 135 (2006).

6 To preserve anonymity in accordance with the approval granted by our universities’ institutional review boards, unless expressly requested by our sources, the names of our interviewees have been redacted. Each interview is identified here by date, location, and category, and by a unique identifying letter that is used in our records of all interviews.

7 African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, June 27, 1981, 1520 UNTS 217, 21 ILM 58(1982) [hereinafter African Charter].

8 This theoretical account builds on our prior work. See, e.g., Karen J. Alter, The New Terrain of Inter National Law: Courts, Politics, Rights (forthcoming 2014); Karen J. Alter & Helfer, Laurence R., Nature or Nurture? Judicial Law-Making in the European Court of Justice and the andean Tribunal of Justice, 64 Int’l Org. 563 (2010); Helfer, Laurence R. & Slaughter, Anne-Marie, Toward a Theory of Effective Supranational Adjudication, 107 Yale L.J. 273 (1997).

9 E.g., Ebobrah, Solomon Tamarabrakemi, Litigating Human Rights Before Sub-regional Courts in Africa, 17 Afr. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 79 (2009); Gathii, James, The Under-appreciated Jurisprudence of Africa’s Regional Trade Judiciaries, 12 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 245 (2010); Murungi, Lucyline Nkatha & Gallinetti, Jacqui, The Role of Sub-regional Courts in the African Human Rights System, 7 Int’l J. Hum. Rts. 119 (2010).

10 Supplementary Protocol A/SP1/01/05 Amending the Preamble and Articles 1, 2, 9 and 30 of Protocol (A/P.1/7/91) Relating to the Community Court of Justice and Article 4 Paragraph 1 of the English Version of the Said Protocol, Jan. 19, 2005 [hereinafter 2005 Protocol], at http://www.courtecowas.org/site2012/pdf_files/supplementary_protocol.pdf.

11 Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States, May 28, 1975, 1010 UNTS 17, 14 ILM 1200.

12 The economic theory motivating the creation of ECOWAS is discussed in Kofi Oteng Kufuor, The Institutional Transformation of the Economic Community of West African States 2–8 (2006).

13 Jebuni, Charles D., The Role of ECOWAS in Trade Liberalization, in Trade Reform and Regional Integration in Africa 489, 493 (Iqbal, Zubair & Khan, Mohsin S. eds., 1998).

14 Committee of Eminent Persons for the Review of the ECOWAS Treaty, Final Report 16 (June 1992) [hereinafter Final CEP Report ] (on file with authors).

15 Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States, supra note 11, Art. 3.

16 Asante, S.K.B., The Political Economy of Regionalism in Africa: A Decade of the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS)70 (1986); see also Ladan, Muhammed Tawfiq, Introduction to ECOWAS Community Law and Practice: Integration, Migration, Human Rights, Access to Justice, Peace and Security 7 (2009) (explaining that “most often, Community texts adopted in the so-called areas of sovereignty were in the form of protocols, and there was considerable delay in their application owing to the slow pace of protocol ratification”).

17 Agu, Chukwuma, Obstacles to Regional Integration: The Human Factor Challenge to Trade Facilitation and Port Reforms in Nigeria, 2 Int’l J. Private L. 445 (2009).

18 E.g., Asante, supra note 16, at 48; Okolo, Julius Emeka, The Development and Structure of ECOWAS , in West African Regional Cooperation and Development 19, 42 (Okolo, Julius Emeka & Wright, Stephen eds., 1990).

19 Mary E. Burfisher & Margaret B. Missiaen, Intraregional Trade in West Africa, in West African Regional Cooperation and Development, supra note 18, at 185–213; Phoebe Kornfeld, ECOWAS, The First Decade: Towards Collective Self-Reliance, or Maintenance of the Status Quo?, in West African Regional Cooperation and Development, supra note 18, at 87, 91 (noting that intraregional trade averaged between 2.8 percent and 4.1 percent of the member states’ total trade volume during the first ten years of ECOWAS). These trade volumes have remained stable since the 1970s. Ibrahim A. Gambari, Political and Comparative Dimensions of Regional Integration: The Case of ECOWAS 40–41 (1991).

20 E.g., Agu, supra note 17, at 455; Kufuor, Kofi Oteng, Sub-state Protectionism in Ghana, 18 AFR. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 78, 80–81 (2010).

21 E.g., Olayiwola Abegunrin, Africa in Global Politics in the Twenty-First Century: A Pan-African Perspective 42 (2009) (explaining that “Nigeria has become the big brother (Super power) of West Africa”).

22 Okolo, supra note 18, at 42.

23 Gambari, supra note 19, at 18; Kufuor, supra note 12, at 22; Ojo, Olatunde, Nigeria and the Formation of ECOWAS , 34 Int’l Org. 571, 584 (1980).

24 Okolo, Julius Emeka, Free Movement of Persons in ECOWAS and Nigeria’s Expulsion of Illegal Aliens, 40 World Today 428, 431 (1984).

25 Gambari, supra note 19, at 42; Okolo, supra note 18, at 49 n.43.

26 Okolo, supra note 18, at 32 (explaining that Nigeria provided nearly one-third of the contributions to the Community fund).

27 Gambari, supra note 19, at 58.

28 Asante, supra note 16, at 42–43; Gambari, supra note 19, at 42–43; Kufuor, supra note 12, at xii.

29 Kufuor, supra note 12, at 27.

30 Id. at 26–29.

31 Gambari, supra note 19, at 44; Jebuni, supra note 13, at 495.

32 E.g., Kufuor, supra note 12, at 19–34; Jebuni, supra note 13, at 490–99.

33 Gambari, supra note 19, at 47.

34 E.g., Protocol A/P.1/5/79 Relating to Free Movement of Persons, Residence and Establishment, Art. 2.1, May 29, 1979, at http://www.comm.ecowas.int/sec/index.php?id=protocole&lang=en; see also Asante, supra note 16, at 151 (“As far as ECOWAS is concerned, the movement of labor is part of the philosophy of its founders....”).

35 Okolo, supra note 24, at 432–33; Gambari, supra note 19, at 47.

36 Kufuor, supra note 12, at 42–43.

37 Revised Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States, July 24, 1993, 35 ILM 660 [hereinafter 1993 Treaty].

38 Protocol A/P.2/8/94 Relating to the Community Parliament, Aug. 6, 1994, at http://www.parl.ecowas.int/ doc/protocols_eng.pdf.

39 For an overview of the 1993 Treaty, see Kufuor, supra note 12, at 35– 68; Akinrinsola, Iwa, Legal and Institutional Requirements for West African Economic Integration, 10 L. & Bus. Rev. Am. 493, 504–08 (2004).

40 Apr. 22, 1978, in Compendium of ECOWAS Peace & Security Decisions 57 (Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, Emma Birikorang & Thomas Jaye eds., 2010), at http://www.kaiptc.org/getattachment/Media-Room/News/Compendium-of-ECOWAS-Peace-and-Security-Decisions/Compendium-of-ECOWAS-Peace-and-Security-Decisions.pdf.aspx.

41 A/SP3/5/8l, May 29, 1981, in Compendium of ECOWAS Peace & Security Decisions, supra note 40, at 61.

42 See Jenkins, Peter, The Economic Community of West African States and the Regional Use of Force, 32 DENV. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 333, 335–36 (2008).

43 Kabia, John M., Humanitarian Intervention and Conflict Resolution in West Africa 57160 (2009); see also Adekeye Adebajo & Ismail O. D. Rashid, West Africa’s Security Challenges: Building Peace in A Troubled Region (2004).

44 See Jenkins, supra note 42, at 342– 44.

45 E.g., Arthur, Peter, ECOWAS and Regional Peacekeeping Integration in West Africa: Lessons for the Future, 57 Africa Today 2, 16 (2010); Kabia, supra note 43, at 86–87.

46 Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peace-Keeping and Security, Art. 2, Dec. 10, 1999 (declaring as a “fundamental principles” the “protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rules of international humanitarian laws”), in Compendium of ECOWAS Peace & Security Decisions, supra note 40, at 61; see also Sampson, Isaac Terwase, The Responsibility to Protect and ECOWAS Mechanisms on Peace and Security: Assessing Their Convergence and Divergence on Intervention, 16 J. Conflict & Security L. 507, 515–18 (2011).

47 Decision A/DEC.9/8/94 Establishing Regulations for the Grant to Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) the Status of Observer Within the Institutions of the Community, Aug. 6, 1994, discussed in Kufuor, supra note 12, at 49–50.

48 Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate B (Feb. 3, 2011).

49 Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, Dec. 21, 2001 [hereinafter 2001 Good Governance Protocol], at http://www.comm.ecowas.int/sec/en/protocoles/Protocol%20on%20good-governance-and-democracy-rev-5EN.pdf. For a recent assessment, see Cowell, Frederick, The Impact of the ECOWAS Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, 19 AFR. J. Int’l and Comp. L. 331 (2011).

50 See Solomon T. Ebobrah, Legitimacy and Feasibility of Human Rights Realisation Through Regional Economic Communities in Africa: The Case of the Economic Community of West African States 100–02(2009) (LLD dissertation, University of Pretoria), at http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-02102010-085034/ unrestricted/00front.pdf.

51 2001 Good Governance Protocol, supra note 49, Art. 39.

52 Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States, supra note 11, Arts. 11, 56.

53 Kufuor, supra note 12, at 44.

54 Akinrinsola, supra note 39, at 503.

55 Id. at 504.

56 Final CEP Report, supra note 14, at 19–21; Ladan, supra note 16, at 2.

57 See supra note 34.

58 Protocol A/P1/11/84 Relating to Community Enterprises, Nov. 23, 1984; see ECOWAS Ministers of Justice Meet in Lagos, 2 Contact Mag., no. 3, 1990, at 15 (onfile with authors) (reporting statements by ECOWAS Deputy Executive Secretary Adelino Queta).

59 Akinrinsola, supra note 39, at 507– 08; Kufuor, Kofi Oteng, Securing Compliance with the Judgements of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, 8 Afr. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 1, 4 (1996).

60 Protocol A/P.1/7/91 on the Community Court of Justice, Arts. 3(1), 4(1), July 6, 1991 [hereinafter 1991 Protocol], provided for a court comprising seven independent judges, each of whom served for a five-year term renewable once. The judges were appointed “by the Authority and selected from a list of persons nominated by Member States” who had qualifications similar to those associated with other international courts and tribunals. Id., Art. 3(1), (4).

61 Id., Art. 9(2), (3). The 1991 Protocol also authorized the ECOWAS Court to issue advisory opinions concerning the Treaty “at the request of the Authority, Council, one or more Member States, or the Executive Secretary and any other institution of the Community.” Id., Art. 10(1).

62 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, in Abuja, Nigeria (Mar. 7, 2011).

63 Committee of Eminent Persons for the Review of the ECOWAS Treaty, Draft Report 28, ECOWAS Doc. ECW/CEP/TREV/VI/2 (June 1992) [hereinafter Draft CEP Report] (on file with authors); Final CEP Report, supra note 14, at 23–24 (containing a similar statement).

64 Final CEP Report, supra note 14, at 20–21; Draft CEP Report, supra note 63, at 20. Elsewhere, the final report suggests that the committee’s recommendation was for private litigants to have direct access to the ECOWAS Court rather than access via national courts. Final CEP Report, supra note 14, at 8.

65 Several scholars have argued that private access contributes to the effectiveness of international courts.See, e.g., Keohane, Robert O., Moravcsik, Andrew & Slaughter, Anne-Marie, Legalized Dispute Resolution: Interstate and Transnational, 54 Int’l Org. 457, 472–76 (2000); Helfer & Slaughter, supra note 8, at 287–90. Other scholars have applied this insight to subregional courts in Africa.See, e.g., Oppong, Richard Frimpong, Legal Aspects of Economic Integration in Africa 119 (2011).

66 The Protocol was provisionally effective from the date of its conclusion in 1991, but it did not enter into force “definitively” until it had been ratified by seven member states. 1991 Protocol, supra note 60, Art. 34.

67 E.g., Iliffe, John, Obasanjo, Nigeria and the World 129, 217–24 (2011); Omotola, J. Shola, From Importer to Exporter: The Changing Role of Nigeria in Promoting Democratic Values in Africa, in African Politics: Beyond the Third Wave of Democratisation 31, 39 (Pretorius, Joelien ed., 2008).

68 Interview with judges at the headquarters of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, in Abuja, Nigeria (Mar. 11, 2011); Adelanwa Bamgboye,Nigeria: Some Judges Are Strong Even at 80—Hansine Donli, Dailytrust (Nigeria) (Sept. 28, 2010), at http://allafrica.com/stories/201009280476.html. Although the news archive at AllAfrica.com requiresa subscription, each of the links to that archive leads to a web page with the first few sentences of the article, information about its publication, and a link to the full article. All sources cited from AllAfrica.com are also on file with authors.

69 The ECOWAS Court was initially located in Lagos, Nigeria. It moved to its permanent headquarters in the capital of Abuja after Nigeria was designated in 2002 as the host country of the Court. Banjo, Adewale, The ECOWAS Court and the Politics of Access to Justice in West Africa, 32 Afr. Dev. 69, 77 (2007).

70 Interview with judges at the headquarters of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, supra note 68; see also Lillian Okenwa,Law Personality: ‘ECOWAS Court Jurisdiction Will Be Expanded,’ Allafrica.Com (Sept. 21, 2004) (describing outreach efforts by ECOWAS judges), at http://allafrica.com/stories/200409210061.html.

71 Banjo, supra note 69, at 77.

72 2001 Good Governance Protocol, supra note 49, Art. 39.

73 Afolabi v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/01/03, Judgment (Apr. 27, 2004), reprinted in 2004–2009 Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS Law Report 1 (2011).

74 Afolabi invoked this right as guaranteed in the 1993 Treaty, supra note 37, Protocol A/P.1/5/79 (free movement), supra note 34, and the African Charter, supra note 7. Id., para. 7.

75 1991 Protocol, supra note 60, Art. 9(3) (emphasis added).

76 Afolabi v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 73, paras. 14, 23.

77 Id., para. 15.

78 1991 Protocol, supra note 60, Art. 9(1) (“The Court shall ensure the observance of law and of the principles of equity in the interpretation and application of the provisions of the Treaty.”).

79 Afolabi v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 73, para. 41.

80 Id., para. 55.

81 Id., paras. 59, 61.

82 Id., paras. 37, 54.

83 Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community, Art. 164, Mar. 25, 1957, 298 UNTS 3 (requiring the ECJ to “ensure observance of law and justice in the interpretation and application of this Treaty”).

84 Afolabi v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 73, para. 56.

85 Id.

86 Interview with judges at the headquarters of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, supra note 68; 1991 Protocol, supra note 60, Art. 33(1) (providing that “the President of the Court may... submit proposals for amendments of this Protocol”).

87 Lillian Okenwa,ECOWAS Court Not Open to Individual Litigants, This Day (Nigeria) (Apr. 28, 2004) (on file with authors); see also ECOWAS Throws Out Suit Against Nigeria over Land Border Closure with Benin, Vanguard (Nigeria) (Apr. 28, 2004), 2004 WLNR 7109799.

88 During interviews at the Federal Ministry of Trade and Commerce of Nigeria, March 8, 2011, in Abuja, Nigeria, we were shown the booklet and discussed how it had been distributed.

89 E.g., Okenwa, Lillian, Broaden ECOWAS Court’s Jurisdiction, This Day (Nigeria) (Sept. 2, 2004), at http://allafrica.com/stories/200409020666.html ; Justice Aminata Malle Sanogo, Practice and Procedure in ECOWAS Court, paper presented at the 2007 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association at Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria (Aug. 26–31, 2007), quoted in Enabulele, A.O., Reflections on the ECOWAS Community Court Protocol and the Constitutions of Member States, 12 Int’l Community L. Rev. 111, 117 (2010).

90 The judges appear to have favored giving private litigants access to the Court in both economic and human rights cases:

[T]he right of access to the Court is the keystone in the development of the Community law. The promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Community Citizens cannot be ensured, if right of direct access to the Community Court of Justice is not guaranteed. A cardinal objective of ECOWAS is the formation of an economic union and a common market.... [T]his scheme and the intended benefits cannot be realized, unless individuals, consumers, manufacturers and corporate bodies that are the prime movers in commercial transactions have direct access to the Court of Justice.

ECOWAS: Court Procedure and the Application of Protocols 10–12 (n.d.), at http://www.crin.org/docs/ecowas procedure.doc. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the Court prepared this document. Specifically, in press interviews ECOWAS judges echoed similar themes. See, e.g., Okenwa, Lillian, ECOWAS Court: Individuals to Have Access, This Day (Nigeria) (Feb. 9, 2005), at http://allafrica.com/stories/200502090527.html. In part IV, we discuss why access for private litigants alleging violations of ECOWAS economic rules was dropped from the court reform agenda.

91 Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate A (Jan. 11, 2011); Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate B, supra note 48; Interview with Human Rights Advocate F, in Abuja, Nigeria (Mar. 7, 2011); Interview with Human Rights Advocate H, in Abuja, Nigeria (Mar. 10, 2011). In 2002, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, ECOWAS’s executive secretary from 2002 to 2006, committed to making the Community a “people-centered” institution and expanding access to civil society and the public. Interview with Mohamed IBN Chambas, Executive Secretary of ECOWAS , Un Integrated Regional Information Network (Mar. 12, 2002), at http://www.irinnews.org/report/30701/west-africa-irin-interview-with-mohamed-ibn-chambas-executive-secretary-of-ecowas.

92 Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, in Abuja, Nigeria (Mar. 9, 2011); Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate B, supra note 48.

93 Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92;see also Falana, Femi, The Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS and the Experiences of Other Regional Courts, in Compendium of the International Conference on “The Law in the Process of Integration in West Africa,” Abuja, Nigeria (NOV. 13–14, 2007) 143, 145 (after the Afolabi judgment, the “West African Bar Association collaborated with the Court in the campaign” to give private actors direct access to the ECOWAS Court “for the enforcement of their human rights”).

94 The Consultative Forum on Protecting the Rights of ECOWAS Citizens Through the ECOWAS Court of Justice was held in Dakar, Senegal on October 18–20, 2004. See http://aros.trustafrica.org/index.php/ECOWAS_Community_Court_of_Justice.

95 Id.; Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92; Nwogu, Nneoma, Regional Integration as an Instrument of Human Rights: Reconceptualizing ECOWAS , 6 J. Hum. Rts. 345, 352 (2007).

96 Nwogu, supra note 95, at 350.

97 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62.

98 Id.; Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate B, in Abuja, Nigeria (Mar. 7, 2011).

99 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate B, supra note 98.

100 Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92; Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate B, supra note 48.

101 Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92.

102 Id.

103 2005 Protocol, supra note 10, Art. 11 (providing that the protocol “shall enter into force provisionally upon signature by the Heads of State and Government” and “shall definitively enter into force upon the ratification by at least nine (9) signatory States”).

104 Id., Art. 3 (revising Art. 9(4) of the 1991 Protocol).

105 Id., Art. 4 (inserting Art. 10(d) into the 1991 Protocol). Article 10(d) also provides that applications alleging human rights violations may not be anonymous and many not be made while the same matter is pending before another international court.

106 Buergenthal, Thomas, The Evolving International Human Rights System, 100 AJIL 783, 791–801 (2006).

107 Only twenty-six of fifty-four African Charter member states have ratified the African Court Protocol. Seven of these twenty-six states—Burkina Faso, Cˆte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda, and Tanzania— have filed separate optional declarations giving private litigants direct access the Africa Court. See Coˆte d’Ivoire Deposits the Declaration Allowing Individuals Direct Access (July 31, 2013), at http://www.african-court.org/ en/index.php/news/latest-news/426-the-republic-of-cote-d-ivoire-deposits-the-declaration-allowing-individuals- and-ngos-direct-access-to-the-african-court.

108 Tidjani v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/01/06, Judgment, para. 22 (July 28, 2007).

109 E. g., Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/08/09, Ruling, paras. 59–61 (Dec. 10, 2010) [hereinafter SERAP Niger Delta Ruling]; Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/08/08, Ruling, paras. 33–34 (Oct. 27, 2009), [hereinafter SERAP Basic Education Ruling]. By contrast, the Court has held that “no corporate body can bring a human rights case before this court as a plaintiff as an alleged victim of human rights abuse.” Starcrest Investment Ltd. v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/01/08, Judgment, para. 17 (July 8, 2011).

110 E.g., SERAP Basic Education Ruling, supra note 109, paras. 18–20; Saidykhan v. The Gambia, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/11/07, Ruling, para. 39 (June 30, 2009).

111 Helfer, Laurence R., Forum Shopping for Human Rights, 148 U. PA. L. Rev. 285, 301 (1999). For example, the contentious jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights “relates mainly to the application of the [American Convention on Human Rights], but has also been extended to a few other regional human rights treaties.” Neuman, Gerald L., Import, Export, and Regional Consent in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 19 Eur. J. Int’l L. 101, 102 (2008). The Court’s advisory jurisdiction is wider, extending to the interpretation of other human rights treaties ratified by Organization of American States member states. Id. at 102 & n.2. The jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is broader still. It applies principally to the African Charter but also extends to “other relevant Human Rights instrument[s] ratified by the States concerned” (contentious jurisdiction) and “any other relevant human rights instruments” (advisory jurisdiction). Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Arts. 3, 4, June 10, 1998, OAU Doc. OAU/LEG/EXP/AFCHPR/PROT (III) (entered into force Jan. 25, 2004).

112 See Ebobrah, supra note 9, at 93; Ebobrah, Solomon T., Critical Issues in the Human Rights Mandate of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, 54 J. Afr. L. 1, 3–7 (2010) [hereinafter Ebobrah, Critical Issues].

113 Tony Anene-Maidoh, The Mandate of a Regional Court: Experiences from ECOWAS Court of Justice, paper presented at the Regional Colloquium on the SADC Tribunal, Johannesburg (Mar. 12–13, 2013) (statement by ECOWAS Court chief registrar).

114 E.g., Alade v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/05/11, Judgment, para. 24 (June 11, 2012); Keita v. Mali, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/05/06, Judgment, para. 34 (Mar. 22, 2007).

115 E.g., Alade v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 114, para. 25 (asserting the authority to interpret “UN Conventions... acceded to by Member States of ECOWAS”).

116 Dec. 16, 1966, 999 UNTS 171.

117 Dec. 16, 1966, 999 UNTS 3.

118 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Dec. 10, 1984, S. Treaty Doc. NO. 100-20 (1988), 1465 UNTS 113.

119 1991 Protocol, supra note 60, Art. 19.

120 Statute of the International Court of Justice, Art. 38.

121 E.g., David v. Uwechue, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/04/09, Ruling, para. 41 (June 11, 2010) (“As an international court with jurisdiction over human rights violation[s,] the court cannot disregard the basic principles as well as the practice that guide the adjudication of the disputes on human rights at the international level.”).

122 Hadijatou Mani Koraou v. Niger, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/08/07, Judgment, paras. 74–75, 77 (Oct. 27, 2008), unofficial translation available at http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/496b41fa2.pdf.

123 “The rule that local remedies must be exhausted before international proceedings may be instituted is a well-established rule of customary international law[.]” Interhandel (Switz. v. U.S.), 1959 ICJ Rep. 6, 27 (Mar. 21). Some international agreements—most notably, bilateral investment treaties—intentionally omit an exhaustion requirement. E.g., Foster, George K., Striking a Balance Between Investor Protections and National Sovereignty: The Relevance of Local Remedies in Investment Treaty Arbitration, 49 Colum. J. Transnat’l L. 201 (2011). For human rights treaties, however, exhaustion is ubiquitous. For example, the African Commission “can only deal with a matter submitted to it after making sure that all local remedies, if they exist, have been exhausted, unless it is obvious to the Commission that the procedure of achieving these remedies would be unduly prolonged.” African Charter, supra note 7, Art. 50; see also Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Treaty Bodies—Individual Communications, Procedure for Complaintsby Individuals Under the Human Rights Treaties, at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/petitions/individual.htm.

124 According to the African Commission, “A remedy is considered available if the petitioner can pursue it with out impediment; it is deemed effective if it offers a prospect of success, and it is found sufficient if it is capable of redressing the complaint.”Dawda Jawarav. The Gambia, Comm. Nos.147/95&149/96, para.31, Afr. Comm’n on Hum. & Peoples’ RTS., 13 Ann. Activity Rep., Annex V (1999–2000), at http://www.achpr. org/files/activity-reports/13/achpr26and27_actrep13_19992000_eng.pdf.

125 Nsongurna Udombana,So Far, So Fair: The Local Remedies Rule in the Jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 97 AJIL 1, 9 (2003).

126 Ebobrah, supra note 9, at 88.

127 Enabulele, A.O., Sailing Against the Tide: Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies and the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, 56 J. AFR. L. 268 (2012).

128 Ebobrah, supra note 9, at 92.

129 E.g., Saidykhan v. The Gambia, Ruling, supra note 110, para. 43 (explaining that “the Supplementary Protocol is an example of legislating out of the rule of customary international law regarding the exhaustion of local remedies”); Hadijatou Mani Kouraou v. Niger, Judgment, supra note 122, para. 45 (rejecting the argument that the lack of an exhaustion requirement is “a gap that should be filled” by judicial interpretation). Although states are free to dispense with an exhaustion of local remedies requirement, they have almost never done so for international human rights courts and review bodies. See supra note 123.

130 Saidykhan v. The Gambia, Ruling, supra note 110, para. 42.

131 E.g., Ayika v. Liberia, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/07/11, Ruling (Dec. 19, 2011); Hadijatou Mani Kouraou v. Niger, Judgment, supra note 122.

132 Enabulele, supra note 127, at 293–94. The risk of conflict is mitigated by the ECOWAS Court’s repeated assertion that it is not an appellate tribunal and will not generally review challenges to national court decisions. See, e.g., Keita v. Mali, Judgment, supra note 114, para. 31; Alade v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 114, paras. 34–35.

133 Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92.

134 Interview with Academic A, in Abuja, Nigeria, and by telephone (Feb.–Mar. 2011); see also FRans Viljoen, International Human Rights Law in Africa 297, 487 (2d ed. 2012) (reviewing the “major impediments to the[] effectiveness and impact” of the African Commission on Human Rights and describing the Commission’s “weaknesses... in providing a credible and timely forum for... recourse” to victims).

135 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate B, supra note 98.

136 Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92.

137 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A,supra note 62; Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate A, supra note 91; Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate B, supra note 48; Interview with ECOWAS Court Official C, in Abuja, Nigeria (Mar. 11, 2011).

138 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62.

139 2005 Protocol, supra note 103, Art. 3 (revising Article 9(1)(a), (b) & (d) of the 1991 Protocol).

140 Id., Art. 4 (inserting Article 10(a) & (b) into the 1991 Protocol).

141 Id. (inserting Article 10(c) into the 1991 Protocol).

142 Id. (inserting Article 10(f) into the 1991 Protocol).

143 Anene-Maidoh, supra note 113, at 9–10 (stating that the “concept of Preliminary Ruling as practiced by the [ECJ] is yet to take root in the context of regional integration in Africa”).

144 Lillian Okenwa, Election Petition: ECOWAS Court Stops Ugokwe’s Successor, THIS DAY (Nigeria) (June 2, 2005), at http://allafrica.com/stories/200506030463.html.

145 Iheanacho Nwosu, West Africa: I Am at ECOWAS Court to Get Fair Hearing—Hon. Ugokwe, Daily Champion (Nigeria) (June 21, 2005), at http://allafrica.com/stories/200506210089.html.

146 Specifically, Ugokwe requested a “special interim order” enjoining (1) the INEC from (a) invalidating Ugokwe’s election or (b) “tak[ing] any steps” toward his replacement, and (2) the Federal National Assembly from relieving Ugokwe of his seat. Ugokwev. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/02/05, Judgment, paras.7, 14.2–.3 (Oct. 7, 2005), reprinted in 2004–09 Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS Law Report 37 (2011).

147 Okenwa, supra note 144.

148 FG Asks ECOWAS Court to Dismiss Ugokwe Suit, Vanguard (Nigeria) (June 17, 2005), at http://all africa.com/stories/200506170727.html.

149 Ise-Olu-Oluwa Ige, ECOWAS Court Goes on Recess, Vanguard (Nigeria) (July 7, 2005), at http://all africa.com/stories/200507070032.html.

150 Okenwa, supra note 144.

151 Ugokwe v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 146, para. 10.

152 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Art. 246(3), 1999, at http://www.nigeria-law.org/ConstitutionOfTheFederalRepublicOfNigeria.htm#CourtOfAppeal.

153 Ige, supra note 149; Okenwa, supra note 144. The individuals whom we interviewed repeated these arguments. Telephone interview with Academic A (Jan. 6, 2011); Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92; Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62; Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate B, supra note 98.

154 Ugokwe v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 146, para. 19.

155 Id., paras. 32, 33.

156 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62; see also Donald Andoor, Nigeria: Ugokwe Loses House Seat, THIS DAY (Nigeria) (Sept. 22, 2005), at http://allafrica.com/stories/ 200509230288.html.

157 ECOWAS Newsletter, no. 1, Oct. 2006 (describing institutional changes), at http://www.ecowas.int/publications/en/newsletter/ECOWAS_NewsLetter_01-Eng.pdf.

158 Decision A/Dec.2/06/06 Establishing the Judicial Council of the Community (adopted June 14, 2006) (on file with authors).

159 ECOWAS Newsletter, supra note 157, at 4.

160 Decision A/Dec.2/06/06, supra note 158, Arts. 1, 2.

161 Regulation C/Reg.23/12/07, Adopting the Rules of Procedure of the Community–Judicial Council, Art. 5, Dec. 14–15, 2007 (on file with authors). The dismissal of judges for politically unpopular rulings has been a significant concern in the East African Community legal system. Gathii, James T., Mission Creep or a Search for Relevance: The East African Court of Justice’s Human Rights Strategy, 24 Dukej. Comp. & Int’l L. (forthcoming 2014) (manuscript at 24–25) (on file with authors).

162 This reform amends Article 4 of the 1991 Protocol. See ECOWAS Newsletter, supra note 157, at 4.

163 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62. Other studies have found that international judges who are ineligible for reappointment are more likely to rule against the governments that appointed them. Voeten, Erik, The Impartiality of International Judges: Evidence from the European Court of Human Rights, 102 Am. Pol. Sci. Rev. 417, 427 (2008).

164 Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92.

165 African Press Organization, ECOWAS Council of Ministers Seeks Regional Infrastructural Development (Nov. 30, 2008) (reporting results of a 2008 meeting of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers at which the “Council... endorsed the report of the ECOWAS Judicial Council on the appointment of three new judges” for the Court), at http://appablog.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/burkina-faso-ecowas-council-of-ministers-seeks-regional-infrastructural-development/; Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate B, supra note 98.

166 Ebobrah, Solomon T., A Critical Analysis of the Human Rights Mandate of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice 47 n. 194 (2008) (noting statement by ECOWAS Court vice president that “the human rights competence of prospective appointees should be taken into consideration” even though such competence is not expressly stated as a criterion for appointment), at http://www.humanrights.dk/files/doc/forskning/Research%20partnership%20programme%20publications/S.Ebobrah.pdf.

167 IPI Calls on the Gambian Government to Cooperate with ECOWAS Legal Proceedings, Freedom Newspaper (Mar. 13, 2008), at http://www.freemedia.at/press-room/public-statements/press-releases/singleview/article/ipi- calls-on-the-gambian-government-to-cooperate-with-ecowas-legal-proceedings.html.

168 Manneh v. The Gambia, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/04/07, Judgment, paras. 7–8 (June 5, 2008), reprinted in 2004–09 Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS Law Report 181 (2011), available at http:// www 1.chr.up.ac.za/index.php/browse-by-institution/ecowas-ccj.html.

169 Id., para. 3.

170 Id., paras. 4, 28.

171 Id., para. 44.

172 E.g., U.S. Senators Call for Release of Journalist, Foroyaa Newspaper (Serrekunda) (Apr. 28, 2009), at http://business.highbeam.com/437649/article-1G1-198772071/us-senators-call-release-journalist; Durbin, Other Senators Press Commonwealth Nations on Case of Missing Journalist, States News Service, Mar. 18, 2010 (on file with authors), available at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-221599405.html.

173 International Press Institute, IPI Calls on the Gambian Government to Cooperate with ECOWAS Legal Proceedings, Senegambia News (Mar. 13, 2008), at http://www.freemedia.at/archives/singleview/article/ipi-calls-on- the-gambian-government-to-cooperate-with-ecowas-legal-proceedings.html.

174 Linda Akrasi Kotey,Ghana: Akoto Ampaw, Two Others in Gambia, Ghanaian Chronicle(July 17,2009), at http://allafrica.com/stories/200907171086.html.

175 ECOWAS Torture Case Against the Gambia Nears an End, Afrol News (Sept. 22, 2010), at http://www. afrol.com/articles/36623.

176 Saidykhan v. The Gambia, Ruling, supra note 110, para. 4.

177 Id., para. 7.

178 Id., paras. 8–9.

179 Id., para. 2.

180 Id., para. 11.

181 Id., para. 37.

182 Gambian Attorney-General Denies Holding Missing Journalist, Agence France Presse, Apr. 7, 2009.

183 West Africa: Country Submits Proposals to Amend ECOWAS Protocol, Foroyaa Newspaper (Serrekunda) (Sept. 25, 2009), at http://allafrica.com/stories/200909250810.html; see also Nana Adu Ampofo,Gambian Authorities Seek to Limit Reach of Regional Human Rights Court, Global Insight (Sept. 28, 2009) (on file with authors); Innocent Anaba, Serap, Chrdachallenge Plans to Amend ECOWAS’ Court Powers, Vanguard (Nigeria), June 26, 2008 (on file with authors).

184 The Gambia also proposed that cases should be admissible for only twelve months after the exhaustion of domestic remedies, that applicants should not be anonymous, and that complaints submitted to the ECOWAS Court should be barred from later being filed with other international courts. The Gambia reiterated the need for a process to appeal all ECOWAS Court decisions. West Africa: Country Submits Proposals to Amend ECOWAS Protocol, supra note 183.

185 Four IFEX Members, Civil Society Groups Fear Gambia Proposal Will Prevent ECOWAS Court from Ruling in Saidykhan Case, IFEX (Sept. 28, 2009), at http://www.ifex.org/west_africa/2009/09/28/ecowas_court_jurisdiction/.

186 Id.; Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92.

187 Justice Ministers Endorse Experts’ Decision on ECOWAS Jurisdiction, IFEX, (Oct. 14, 2009), at http://www.ifex.org/west_africa/2009/10/14/gambian_proposal_defeated/. One source told us that, while the justice ministers unanimously rejected the Gambia’s proposals, the foreign ministers were split, with one-third supporting and two-thirds opposing the proposals. Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate A, supra note 91.

188 Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62.

189 Interviews with Human Rights Advocates B, supra note 48, C, supra note 92; Interview with ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62; see also Four IFEX Members, Civil Society Groups Fear Gambia Proposal Will Prevent ECOWAS Court from Ruling in Saidykhan Case, supra note 185 (listing regional civil society groups that mobilized against the Gambia’s proposals).

190 Saidykhan v. The Gambia, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/11/07, Judgment, para. 47 (Dec. 16. 2010); see also Ousman Njie, ECOWAS Court Awards Musa Saidykhan $200,000, Foroyaa Newspaper (Serrekunda) (Dec. 17, 2010), at http://www.foroyaa.gm/international-news/7445-gambia-news-archive.

191 In 2011, the country’s president suggested that Manneh had died but that “the government has nothing to do with” his death. Critical Activists and Journalists Detained Under “Bogus Charges,” IFEX (July 27, 2011), at http://www.ifex.org/the_gambia/2011/07/27/bogus_charges/.

192 Media Foundation for West Africa, Alerts and Updates 2011: ECOWAS Court Adjourns Hearing on Gambian Government Request for Review of Two Landmark Judgements (Dec. 29, 2011), at http://www.mediafound.org/? p = 3188.

193 Saidykhan v. The Gambia, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/11/07, Application for Review (Feb. 7, 2012); see Gambia: ECOWAS Court Rules in Favour of Musa Saidykhan, Foroyaa Newspaper (Serrekunda) (Feb. 11, 2012), at http://allafrica.com/stories/201202140302.html.

194 Ecowas Newsletter, supra note 157, at 2.

195 Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate A, supra note 91.

196 Interview ECOWAS Legal Affairs Directorate A, supra note 62; Interview with Human Rights Advocate C, supra note 92; Interview with ECOWAS Court Official C, supra note 137.

197 As of July 2013, the ECOWAS Court’s decisions included seventeen rulings and sixty-seven judgments on the merits. Amie Sanneh, West Africa: ECOWAS Court of Justice Brief the Press, Foroyaa Newspaper (Serrekunda) (July 26, 2013) (reporting statement of the ECOWAS Court chief registrar), at http://allafrica.com. proxy.lib.duke.edu/stories/201307291277.html. Solomon Ebobrah has provided the most detailed analysis of the ECOWAS Court’s human rights jurisprudence. See, e.g., Ebobrah, Critical Issues, supra note 112.

198 Hadijatou Mani Kouraou v. Niger, Judgment, supra note 122.

199 Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/08/09, Judgment (Dec. 14, 2012) [hereinafter SERAP Niger Delta Judgment].

200 Habré v. Senegal, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/07/08, Judgment (Nov. 18, 2010).

201 Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/08/08, Judgment (Nov. 30, 2010) [hereinafter SERAP Basic Education Judgment].

202 SERAP Basic Education Ruling, supra note 109.

203 E.g., Alade v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 114; Tandja v. Niger, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/05/10, Judgment (Nov. 8, 2010).

204 One indication of this salience is the increasing discussion of ECOWAS Court cases in the West African news media. A search for “ECOWAS Court” and “Community Court of Justice” on AllAfrica.com—a news aggregator Web service—yielded the following number of “hits” each year:

205 Article 15(4)of the 1993 Treaty, supra note 37, provides that the ECOWAS Court’s judgments “shall be binding on the Member States, the Institutions of the Community and on individuals and corporate bodies,” and Article 19(2)of Protocol A/P.1/7/91 on the Community Court of Justice, supra note 61, makes the Court’s decisions “final and immediately enforceable.” As with other international courts, however, the ECOWAS Court does “not have the benefit of institutions with powers of coercion to enforce [its] judgments” and has to rely on “pressure generated by the political arms of [the Community], the indulgence of national executives or the goodwill of national courts.” Ebobrah, supra note 9, at 96.

206 Anene-Maidoh, supra note 113, at 27.

207 Keita v. Mali, Judgment, supra note 114, para. 33.

208 Garba v. Benin, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/09/08, Judgment, para. 39 (Feb. 17, 2010). The Court recently reaffirmed this evidentiary standard and extended it to defenses raised by states. Alade v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 114, paras. 48–50.

209 See, e.g., David v. Uwechue, Ruling, supra note 121, para. 48 (individuals); Hassan v. Nigeria, Case No. ECW/CCJ/APP/03/10, Judgment, para. 41 (Mar. 15, 2012) (subnational political entities and their officials); SERAP Niger Delta Ruling, supra note 109, paras. 69–71 (corporations).

210 E.g., Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013) (Alien Tort Statute does not apply to human rights violations by foreign corporations committed on the territory of another state); Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, 132 S.Ct. 1702 (2012) (only individuals, not corporate entities, can be liable under the Torture Victim Protection Act); Samantar v. Yousuf, 560 U.S. 305 (2010) (foreign official sued for conduct undertaken in his official capacity is not a “foreign state” entitled to immunity from suit).

211 Hadijatou Mani Koraou v. Niger, Judgment, supra note 122, para. 92.

212 Duffy, Helen, Human Rights Cases in Sub-regional African Courts: Towards Justice for Victims or Just More Fragmentation, in The Diversification and Fragmentation of International Criminal Law 163, 179–81 (van den Herik, Larissa & Stahn, Carsten eds., 2012).

213 Alter, supra note 8, at 264–66.

214 Serap Basic Education Judgment, supra note 201, para. 26.

215 Id., para. 28.

216 Serap Niger Delta Judgment, supra note 199, paras. 113–15.

217 Id., para. 121.

218 Recent studies suggest that partial compliance is the norm for human rights tribunals. See, e.g., Hawkins, Darren and Jacoby, Wade, Partial Compliance: A Comparison of the European and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 6 J. Int’l L. & Int’l Rel. 35, 56 – 83 (2010); Huneeus, Alexandra, Courts Resisting Courts: Lessons from the Inter-American Court’s Struggle to Enforce Human Rights, 44 Cornell Int’l L. J. 493, 509–29 (2011).

219 Horace Adjolohoun, Status of Human Rights Judgments of the ECOWAS Court: Implications on Human Rights and Democracy in the Region (Aug. 7, 2012) (on file with authors).

220 Id.

221 Eyo Charles, West Africa: Nigeria Doesn’t Respect Our Rulings— ECOWAS Court, Daily Trust (Mar. 13, 2012), at http://allafrica.com/stories/201203130408.html.

222 E.g., Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS, Summary of Activities for the Year 2011, at 5 (2012), available at http://www.courtecowas.org/site2012/pdf_files/annual_reports/activities_report_2011.pdf; Press Release, Media Foundation for West Africa, MFWA Holds Forum on ECOWAS Court in Abuja (July 27, 2012), at http://www.mediafound.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=857.

223 Udo, Bassey, West Africa: Human Rights Groups Want Mechanism to Enforce ECOWAS Court Decisions, Premium Times (Nigeria) (May 2, 2013), at http://allafrica.com/stories/201305020992.html ; Media Foundation for West Africa Abuja Declaration of the Regional Civil Society Forum on the Enforcement of Judgements of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (July 30, 2012), at http://www.mediafound.org/en/?p = 3073; Press Release, Media Foundation for West Africa, ECOWAS Commission Commits to Ensuring Member States Comply with Decisions of the Community Court of Justice (Nov. 15, 2012) (on file with authors).

224 E.g., Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Senate President Wants Action on ECOWAS Right to Education Judgment (n.d.) (stating that the head of the Nigerian Senate was the “first political leader to acknowledge the [SERAP Basic Education Judgment] and to take action towards its implementation”), at http://serap-nigeria.org/ senate-president-wants-action-on-ecowas-right-to-education-judgment/.

225 UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Gambia, UN Doc. A/HRC/14/6, at 4, 21 (Mar. 24, 2010), at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G10/ 125/20/PDF/G1012520.pdf?OpenElement.

226 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012: The Gambia, at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2012&dlid=204123; Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Human Rights and Democracy 2012, at http://www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk/.

227 This literature began with a 1982 special issue of the journal International Organization, which was later republished as International Regimes (Stephen Krasner ed., 1983). Similar assumptions underpin recent rationalist international law scholarship. See, e.g., Jack L. Goldsmith & Eric A. Posner, The Limits of International Law (2005); Andrew T. Guzman, How International Law Works: A Rational Choice Theory (2008).

228 E.g., Koremenos, Barbara, Lipson, Charles & Snidal, Duncan, The Rational Design of International Institutions, 55 Int’l Org. 761 (2001); Koremenos, Barbara, When, What, and Why Do States Choose to Delegate?, 71 Law & Contemp. Probs. 153 (2008).

229 Delegation and Agency in International Organizations (Darren Hawkins, David A. Lake, Daniel L. Nielson & Michael J. Tierney eds., 2006); see also Bradley, Curtis A. & Kelley, Judith G., The Concept of International Delegation, 71 Law & Contemp. Probs. 1 (2008). For a criticism of this scholarship, see Alter, Karen J., Agents or Trustees? International Courts in Their Political Context, 14 Eur. J. Int’l Rel. 33 (2008).

230 Streeck, Wolfgang & Thelen, Kathleen, Introduction: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies, in Beyond Continuity: Institutional Changein Advanced Political Economies 1, 7, 11 (Streeck, Wolfgang & Thelen, Kathleen eds., 2005). Historical institutionalist approaches have a growing, but less well known, foothold in international relations scholarship. See, e.g., Fioretos, Orfeo, Historical Institutionalism in International Relations, 65 Int’l Org. 367 (2011); Helfer, Laurence R., Understanding Change in International Organizations: Globalization and Innovation in the ILO, 59 Vand. L. Rev. 649, 666–69 (2006).

231 For foundational studies that examine critical junctures, see Peter Alexis Gourevitch, Politics in Hard Times: Comparative Responses to International Economic Crises (1986); Barrington Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (1967); Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolution: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China (1979). For a recent discussion of how critical junctures contribute to institutional change, see Capoccia, Giovanni & Kelemen, R.Daniel, The Study of Critical Junctures in Historical Institutionalism, 59 World Pol. 341 (2007).

232 E.g., Kathleen Thelen, How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Comparative-Historical Perspective (2004); Pierson, Paul, The Path to European Integration: A Historical Institutionalist Perspective, 29 Comp. Pol. Stud. 123 (1996).

233 Streeck & Thelen, Supra Note 230, At 22–24.

234 Id. At 26–29.

235 Supra Note 40, Arts. 1, 2.

236 Supra Note 41.

237 These Protocols Reflected the Then Prevalent Idea of A Pax Africana, Wherein African Leaders Would Manage Their Own Internal Affairs. Comfort Ero, Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu & Augustine Toureet (Rappor Teurs), Toward A Pax West Africana: Building Peace in a Troubled Sub-Region (2001), available at http://www.ipinst.org/media/pdf/publications/pdf_report_pax_w__africana.pdf.

238 Ero, Comfort, ECOMOG: A Model for Africa, in Building Stability in Africa: Challenges for the New Millennium 97 (Cilliers, Jakkie & Hildung-Norberg, Annika eds., 2000).

239 E.g., Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate A, supra note 91.

240 Final CEP Report, supra note 14, at 37; see also Viljoen, supra note 134, at 482 (“as the winds of democracy swept authoritarianism and militarism from the continent ina post–Cold War world,...human rights became mainstreamed into all forms of subregional cooperation”).

241 Ebobrah, Critical Issues, supra note 112, at 3.

242 1993 Treaty, supra note 37, Art. 4(g).

243 Arthur, supra note 45, at 16.

244 Kabia, supra note 43, at 87.

245 Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, ECOWAS Court of Justice in the Protection of Human Rights, in Compendium of the International Conference on the Law in the Process of Integration in West Africa,” supra note 93, at 185.

246 Kufuor, supra note 12, at 161; see also id., at 49–50 (discussing NGO participation).

247 2001 Good Governance Protocol, supra note 49, Art. 39.

248 Interview with Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, supra note 91.

250 See the sub-subsection in part II entitled “A broad authority for human rights suits, but a narrower mandate for economic cases” (explaining these provisions of the 2005 Protocol).

251 Ebobrah, Critical Issues, supra note 112, at 15.

252 See subsection in part II entitled “The Afolabi Case: Justice Denied for Private Litigants.”

253 The organization’s website is at http://nants.org/.

254 Crusoe Osagie, West Africa: Traders Task ECOWAS on Regional Integration, THIS DAY (Aug. 29, 2011), at http://allafrica.com/stories/201108300754.html.

255 Sovereignty, Supra-nationality and Trade: The Case of ECOWAS Laws, 2 ECOWAS Vanguard, Feb. 2013, at 7, available at http://nants.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Soveriegnty-Supranationality-and-Trade-The-Case-of-ECOWAS-Laws-ECO-VANGUARD-FEB-2013-English-Edition.pdf.

256 Nwogu, supra note 95, at 348–49; see also Oppong, supra note 65, at 148 (asserting that the “links between economic development and human rights are too obvious to merit discussing”).

257 Telephone interview with Human Rights Advocate B, supra note 48.

258 Afolabi v. Nigeria, Judgment, supra note 73, para. 7.

259 Sovereignty, Supra-nationality and Trade, supra note 255, at 7.

260 E.g., Ebobrah, Solomon T., Human Rights Developments in African Sub-regional Economic Communities During 2009, 10 Afr. Hum. Rts. J. 233 (2010); Ebobrah, Solomon T., Human Rights Developments in African Subregional Economic Communities During 2010, 11 Afr. Hum. Rts. J. 216 (2011); Ebobrah, Critical Issues, supra note 112.

261 See, e.g., Heather Smith-Cannoy, Insincere Commitments: Human Rights Treaties, Abusive States, and Citizen Activism 9 (2012).

262 A variant of this argument asserts that West African leaders adopted the 2005 Protocol to signal to international organizations, foreign donors, or domestic interest groups a seemingly real but, in fact, temporary or disingenuous commitment to human rights or to other goals desired by those actors. For a critique of the claim that human rights treaty ratifications are “costless signals,” see Goodman, Ryan and Jinks, Derek, Measuring the Effects of Human Rights Treaties, 14 Eur. J. Int’l L. 171, 179 (2003).

263 See Beth Simmons, Mobilizing for Human Rights 78 (2009) (explaining that states often “underestimate the probability that they will be pressured to live up to their international treaty commitments in the years to come”).

264 See, e.g., de Búrca, Gráinne, The Road Not Taken: The European Union as a Global Human Rights Actor, 105 AJIL 649, 687 (2011).

265 Helfer, Laurence R. & Alter, Karen J., Legitimacy and Lawmaking: A Tale of Three International Courts, 14 Theoretical Inquiries in L. 479, 492–93 (2013); see also Alter, Karen J. & Helfer, Laurence R., Nature or Nurture? Judicial Law-Making in the European Court of Justice and the Andean Tribunal of Justice, 64 Int’l Org. 563 (2010).

266 De Búrca, supra note 264, at 670 –73.

267 See sources cited supra notes 9 and 260.

268 Onoria, Henry, Botched-Up Elections, Treaty Amendments and Judicial Independence in the East African Community, 54 J. Afr. L. 74, 83 (2010).

269 Gathii, supra note 161, manuscript at 24–27 (describing the backlash by governments following the Nyong’o election case). The precise relationship between the timing of the treaty amendments and their influence on the EACJ’s human rights case law remains to be explored.

270 Treaty of the South African Development Community, Aug. 17, 1992, 32 ILM 116 (1993), at http:// www.sadc.int/documents-publications/sadc-treaty/.

271 E.g., Cowell, Frederick, The Death of the Southern African Development Community Tribunal’s Human Rights Jurisdiction, 13 Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 153 (2013); de Wet, Erika, The Rise and Fall of the Tribunal of the Southern African Development Community: Implications for Dispute Settlement in Southern Africa, 28 Icsid Rev. 45 (2013).

272 See supra notes 218–26 and accompanying text.

273 E.g., Viljoen, supra note 134, at 437 (warning that the existence of multiple international venues for adjudicating human rights claims “may lead to divergence in jurisprudence and to forum shopping, where quasi-judicial and judicial institutions are compared and played off against one another”).

274 Habré v. Senegal, Judgment, supra note 200, paras. 58, 61.

275 Questions Relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belg. v. Sen.), 2012 ICJ Rep. 1, para. 110 (July 20). The ICJ rejected Senegal’s argument, holding that “Senegal’s duty to comply with its obligations under the [UN] Convention [Against Torture] cannot be affected by the decision of the ECOWAS Court of Justice.” Id., para. 111. In fact, the ECOWAS Court had left open the option of trying Habré before an ad hoc or international tribunal. Habré v. Senegal, Judgment, supra note 200, paras. 58, 61. In 2012, Senegal and the African Union agreed to create a hybrid court within the Senegalese judicial system, known as the Extraordinary African Chambers, with jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture committed in Chad in the 1980s. Shah, Sangeeta, Questions Relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v Senegal), 13 Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 351, 363–66 (2013).

276 Kofi Oteng Kufuor, The African Human Rights System: Origin and Evolution 104(2010); see also Ebobrah, Solomon, Litigating Human Rights Before Sub-regional Courts in Africa: Prospects and Challenges, 17 AFR. J. Int’l & COMP L. 78, 87 (2009).

277 Duffy, supra note 212, at 182– 87.

278 See Kufuor, supra note 275, at 105; Viljoen, supra note 134, at 453–55.

279 See Pauwelyn, Joost & Elsig, Manfred, The Politics of Treaty Interpretation: Variations and Explanations Across International Tribunals, in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations: The State of the Art 445 (Dunoff, Jeffrey L. & Pollack, Mark A. eds., 2013) (suggesting a connection between the institutional structure of international courts and the types of treaty interpretation adopted by their judges).

* iCourts: The Danish National Research Foundation’s Center of Excellence for International Courts. Email: . The authors thank Kristina Alayan, Ethan Blevins, and Abraham Smith for excellent research assistance. For comments on earlier drafts, we thank the participants in conferences and workshops held at the American Society of International Law Research Forum at UCLA Law School; the Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Tel Aviv; Duke University School of Law; iCourts; the Hauser Colloquium at New York University Law School; the Program of African Studies, Northwestern University; the University of St. Gallen; and the University of Wisconsin Regional Colloquium on Globalization and Law.

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A New International Human Rights Court for West Africa: The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice

  • Karen J. Alter (a1), Laurence Helfer and Jacqueline R. McAllister (a2)

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