ECOWAS court to set guidelines for award of reparations

ECOWAS Court of Justice on Friday resolved to set clear guidelines for awarding reparations in order to resolve existing disparities in the significance of awards.

The resolution, which was an outcome of the 8th Judges Retreat of the Court held in Goshen City in Abuja, is contained in a statement by Ms. Elohor Ovadje, the court’s Media Officer.

“Judges of the ECOWAS Court of Justice have resolved to articulate clear guidelines for the award of reparations.

“This is in order to resolve the existing disparities in the quantum of awards by the Court in similar situations depending on the panel hearing the case,’’ Ovadje said.

Mrs. Franca Ofor, a Principal Legal Officer in the Research and Documentation Department of the court said that reparation was the approach to remedy an injury or harm caused by a violation.

She said that reparation is aimed at relieving a victim’s pain, removing the cause, and restoring a victim back to his or her original state.

“Reparation also helps to prevent future violations by requiring changes in the laws, policies, or systems that create the enabling environment for the violations.

“Reparation should start with the identification of the victim while the specificities should depend on the circumstance of each case where the evidence of injury or prejudice suffered has been established.

“Although it rely on the general principle of law and the legal basis for reparation which states that where there is injury, there must be a remedy (Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium),” she noted

Ofor, however, identified the five internationally recognised forms of reparations as restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

However, Mr Aboubakar Diakite, the Registrar of the court in his paper on Amicus Curiae said that the Court acknowledged its value as it has featured in its jurisprudence.

He said the Court acknowledged that although Amicus Curiae was not explicitly provided in the Texts of the Court, it is an acceptable and useful judicial practice in many common law countries. 

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