7 – 8 December 2023 (Abuja, Nigeria) – PALU organised a two-day capacity-building seminar aimed at assessing the state of implementation of regional courts’ decisions. The seminar brought together the ECOWAS Court of Justice, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) and civil society organisations including human rights NGOs and lawyers’ associations. The theme for this year’s seminar is Advancing Human Rights Through Effective Implementation of Decisions of Regional Courts – Amplifying Voices of Key Stakeholders.

The ECOWAS Court of Justice’s delegation was led by its Head of Legal Services and Research, Mr Apraku Nketiah, on behalf of its Hon. President, Justice Edward Amoako. Other officials from the Court who attended included Barrister Gaye Sowe, the Registrar in charge of Appeals and Enforcement, and Dr Chris Nyinevi, the Executive Assistant to the President.

In his keynote address, Mr. Nketiah acknowledged the collective concern, shared by all regional human rights mechanisms, of the critical need to ensure the efficacy of their views, decisions, and judgments, as well as the provision of remedies for victims of human rights violations. “Despite numerous pertinent court rulings, the essential effectiveness of any human rights mechanism hinges upon the comprehensive implementation of its decisions, ultimately aiming to impose sanctions and remedies against these violations.” Mr. Nketiah further emphasized that the swift and thorough enforcement of court judgments stands as a testament to the commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring effective justice delivery within the region.

The primary goal of the seminar was to enhance the capacities of pertinent stakeholders, enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of the prevailing challenges in executing decisions from regional courts. This initiative aimed to cultivate stronger collaborative networks among these stakeholders and delineate practical strategies for advocating, monitoring, and evaluating the implementation of human rights decisions throughout the continent.

This is the second instance that the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) have partnered with PALU to bring about capacity building seminar in West Africa. On behalf

This is the second instance that the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) has partnered with PALU to bring about capacity building seminar in West Africa. On behalf of RWI, Mr Gilford Kimathi affirmed that the seminars align seamlessly with the mission of the RWI's Regional Africa Programme: “Our goal is to unite influential regional actors in Africa, fostering collaboration and strengthening the human rights capacity of regional institutions and duty-bearers. The Programme operates on the belief that by enhancing the abilities of key regional actors to influence and follow up on the work of institutions like the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, we can promote greater respect for human rights in Africa”. He concluded that such an initiative would contribute to strengthened democracy, gender equality, improved access to justice for all, and enhanced good governance and the rule of law. Other collaborators included the West African Bar Association and the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria.

Regional courts play a pivotal role in the protection and promotion of human rights by rendering decisions that carry profound implications for the lives of countless individuals. PALU is at the forefront of litigation at such Courts, including the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and the AfCHRP. Knowing that their so much to be gained in the effective regional human rights mechanism in Africa, during the recently concluded 77th Ordinary session of the African Commission, where PALU launched the Continental CSO working group on the Implementation of decisions for key stakeholders to strategise and develop innovative ideas towards implementation of regional human rights mechanisms decisions.

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