The Economic Community of West African States Treaty was signed by 15 West African Heads of State on 28 May 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The 1991 ECOWAS Protocol led to the establishment of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice. Yet, initially, the Court’s mandate did not cover human rights.
However, by virtue of article 9(4) and 10 (d) of the ECOWAS Supplementary protocol, adopted in January 2005, the jurisdiction of the court now extends to cases concerning human rights violations. This is only the case when parties are not anonymous and the issues of the case are not brought before any international court.
The Court has no admissibility requirements and therefore victims can appeal directly to it, even if they have not exhausted local remedies. This is meant to ensure quick settlement of disputes, free economic participation, peace and respect for human rights within West Africa.