ECOWAS Court to combat terrorism financing, money laundering in new legal year
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court, has said it would be more committed to combating money laundering and terrorism financing within the ECOWAS Court space.
The Court made the commitment while marking the commencement of a new legal year, 2016 to 2017.
President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Jerome Traore, in his address, noted that the choice of the theme was to further buttress the Court’s interest and determination to contribute its quota in the fight against the two manifestations of the crimes.
Explaining how the crimes manifest in the region, he stressed that while terrorism plunges people into sorrow and mourning, money laundering eats away the health of the already weakened economies.
“The combined effect of these two forms of scourge is that they put the brakes on the economic development of our states”, Traore stated.
In view of the adverse effects they visit on the states, the Justice maintained that the crimes must be combated at all cost, and that the Community Court of Justice, in its capacity as the principal legal organ of ECOWAS, cannot remain on the sideline of the battle.
According to him, the Court intended to offer in resolute terms, the needed assistance required by ECOWAS and its member states towards the containment of the crimes.
“The Court will of course, do so within the confines of the powers currently conferred upon it by particularly ensuring, without sacrificing their potency, that the rules and procedures in force are in all respects, in consonance with the observance of human rights and guarantee of the rule of law,” he said.
But beyond the fight against crimes, the regional court is also poised to enhance justice administration in the new legal year. To this end, the Court President assured that conscious effort would be made towards efficient and expedite proceedings.
In the course of the new year, Justice Traore also pledged to bring the Court closer to the people, whose right is to seek justice.
He expressed concern that greater number of those who desired to bring cases before the Court lacked the financial ability to do so.
According to him, some efforts have already been put in place through the organization of exernal court sessions in ECOWAS member states.