The President of the ECOWAS Community Court Justice Edward Amoako Asante has called for the increase in the number of judges of the court.
Justice Asanto made the call at the end of three retreats organised by the regional court in Goshen City in Karu local government in Nasarawa State, North Central Nigeria.
The retreats were judge’s retreat, the judicial and the administration and budget retreat.
The President of the regional Court of Justice also urged the authorities of the Community to revisit the decision to increase the tenure of the judges of the Court.
“Looking at the number of cases that are coming, we still need to revert the court to seven judges and seven year term as four years is not enough to work effectively, when you make it seven years you are able to sustain jurisprudence of the court.”
Justice Asante said the decision to reduce the tenure of the judges to a four-year none renewable term and the reduction in their number from seven to five has constrained the effectiveness of the Court which operates on a panel of a minimum of three judges.
“Coming at a time when the Court is confronted with an unprecedented number of pending and new cases, it means that the Court cannot operate with two simultaneous panels in order to deal with the backlog of cases and ensure the speedy dispensation of justice”
He therefore suggested the reinstatement of the previous tenure of the judges.
Justice Asante said since they opened up the court for individuals to have access to the court the court has been flooded with so many cases.
“We are inundated with cases and unfortunately judges were reduced from seven to five but we are doing our best.”
“Just this legal year, that is from August last year when we took over up on till this July, we have delivered 28 judgments and eight rulings, which is very unprecedented in the annals of this court and it is far for more than done by any international court.”
Justice Asante said, as judges, they have resolved, to look at the community’s interest by way of our human rights mandate, particularly to work hard to make sure that they give justice to the people in the community.