A delegation from the regional Community Court of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has ended a sensitization tour of Sierra Leone.
The delegation, headed by the President of the Court, Edward Amanko Asante, held its last meeting with Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Monday, 11 March 2019, according to a statement from the Vice Presidency.
In the statement, Asante was quoted as saying that they are in the country as part of a sensitization drive on the work of the court and to ensure that the workings of the court become public knowledge.
The Court president, the statement added, said the visit was part of the court’s responsibilities to ensure that citizens of ECOWAS are informed on how to access the court and know its jurisdiction.
The ECOWAS Court of Justice, as it is official called, is an organ of the 15-member regional organization of ECOWAS.
The court provides an alternative means of citizens of its member countries to seek justice, especially where they feel let down by the national justice system.
Not only is the court’s activities hindered by low knowledge of the regional block itself among the citizens, over the years several member countries have also taken a dismissive position towards the court.
Sierra Leone, for instance, is known to have had three cases heard at the court, among them the ongoing case involving survivors of the deadly 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic who want a ruling against the government which they accused of negligence, causing deaths and suffering due to the illness.
The current government is cooperating in that matter.
But the former government of Ernest Bai Koroma had refused to cooperate over the case brought up by Koroma’s former Vice President, Samuel Sam-Sumana.
Vice President Jalloh received the ECOWAS Court delegation in his capacity as Acting President in the absence of President Julius Maada Bio who is currently on a visit to the United States.