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Functional legal order in Member States critical to ECOWAS integration – President

Some of the participants at the conference

By Lizzy Okoji

  Justice Edward Asante, President of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, says a functional legal order is critical to the integration agenda of the ECOWAS sub-region.

 Asante said this at the opening of the four-day International Conference of the Court in Praia, Cape Verde themed “ECOWAS Integration Model: The Legal Implications of Regionalism, Sovereignty and Supra-nationalism”.

According to Asante, a community legal order is the fulcrum of any regional integration arrangement.

 He added that there could not be an enabling legal environment for the ECOWAS regional integration agenda, without establishing a functional legal order that will ensure the attainment of our community objectives.

“The importance of this international conference cannot be overemphasized, because for the first time, an ECOWAS Institution is providing a forum for a comprehensive review of the legal and institutional architecture.

“For a regional integration project and the legal implications of regionalism, sovereignty and supra-nationalism.

“The conference will pay particular attention to the existing legal framework for the ECOWAS integration project and especially on what needs to be done to strengthen the existing legal and institutional architecture,” he said.

According to him, this conference therefore gives us a golden opportunity to evaluate the existing legal framework of the ECOWAS integration project and the ECOWAS legal order.

“The conference will provide the opportunity to place on the front burner, essential issues in the establishment of a functional legal framework in a regional integration arrangement and the shortcomings and challenges in the ECOWAS integration legal framework model.

“We are however convinced that there are gaps in the legal framework of the ECOWAS integration project and it is absolutely necessary to focus attention on these legal issues, with a view to strengthening the existing legal framework of the ECOWAS integration project.

“By this, we are attempting to align our Community objectives with the prerequisite legal architecture that is necessary for the attainment of our Community objectives,” the president said.

Asante further noted that the theme and sub themes of the conference were linked to the regional economic integration objectives of the community and the legal framework for the achievement of the Community objectives.

 He explained that the conference theme and sub themes were also relevant to the mandates of the various ECOWAS Institutions which mainstreams the role of Member States in the integration arrangement and the legal relationship between the Member States and ECOWAS. (NAN) (

 Edited by Isaac Aregbesola