The ECOWAS court as a human rights promoter? Assessing five years' impact of the Koraou Slavery judgment
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa
The 2005 reform initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had the double effect of putting an end to ten years of judicial lethargy and positioning its Community Court of Justice (ECCJ) as a promising international human rights body. One of the most illustrative cases of the Court's impact is the landmark Koraou (Slavery) judgment in which the ECCJ condemned Niger for failing to protect the complainant from enslavement by a third party. Five years after the Koraou decision, this paper uses empirical based theories, case study and factual evidence to interrogate whether the ECCJ's judgment has had any further effect than just restoring the dignity of an individual litigant. Such assessment is important to thousands of other human beings who still live in bondage in the rest of the region. Ultimately, the paper seeks to demonstrate that although it has not reached the irradiating model of the European Court of Human Rights, the ECCJ has the potential of becoming a human rights promoter in the region and beyond. © Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), Printed in the Netherlands.