Ludovica Poli

The ECOWAS Court of Justice: Which Prospects for a Real Improvement of Human Rights Protection in Africa?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Human Rights Protection; ECOWAS Court of Justice; 2005 Supplementary Protocol; African Charter on Human and People's Rights; Exhaustion of Internal Remedies; Complementarity

Following the adoption of the 2005 Supplementary Protocol, the ECOWAS Court of Justice has acquired jurisdiction over human rights individual complaints. The article aims at analyzing the features of the Court's new competence, in an attempt to ascertain if (and to what extent) they can actually improve the protection of human rights in West Africa. In fact, at first glance, the system appears to be extremely beneficial for the safeguard of fundamental rights: individuals have direct access to the Court, NGO enjoy "locus standi" before it, and, above all, the exhaustion of internal remedies is not listed among the conditions for the admissibility of a case. Nevertheless, some choices made by the drafters of the Supplementary Protocol are likely to jeopardize the complementary nature of international protection of human rights, converting the ECOWAS Court of Justice in a tool alternative to domestic justice, rather than strengthening it as an instrument to improve the respect for fundamental rights within national legal systems.

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