Gambia hosts ECOWAS Court’s 2O23 International Conference on Unconstitutional Change of Government

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By Paul Ejime

With more seven failed and successful military coups within three years and the rapid erosion of democracy in member States, the ECOWAS region appears to be living up to a notorious reputation as the “coup zone” of Africa. 

To address the myriad governance challenges, a four-day International Conference opens on Monday, 22 May in Banjul, the Gambia capital.

Organized by the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice under the theme “ECOWAS Zero Tolerance for Unconstitutional Change of Government,” the Conference is expected to be opened by the Gambian President Adama Barrow with Prof Chidi Anselem Odinkalu, former Chair of Nigeria’s Human Rights Commission as the Guest Speaker.

Presenters and attendees will include Justice Ministers and Attorneys General, eminent Judges and Lawyers from ECOWAS member States, as well as constitution, governance, human rights and election experts 

There will be welcome statements and goodwill messages from Heads of ECOWAS Institutions including the ECOWAS Commission President Omar Alieu Touray, the President, ECOWAS Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Edward Amoako Asante as well as the Gambian Justice Minister and Chief Justice, among others.

The Conference’s six sub-themes include “The Role of National Courts and The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Upholding Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Constitutional Democracy,” “Human Rights as a factor for Democracy, Peace, and Security: Duty of member States to Respect, Protect and Fulfil Human Rights Obligations,” and “The Enabling Environment for ECOWAS Integration; ECOWAS Community Law in Perspective.”

My presentation is the sub-theme “Lack of Free, Fair and Transparent Elections as a Key Source of Conflict; Holding member States Accountable for Their Treaty Obligations and the Sanctions Regime.”

The deliberations and Conference Recommendations will point the way forward on Credible Elections, Respect for Human Rights, Constitutional Order and Consolidation of Democracy in the ECOWAS Region. (GBN)

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