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Title: Legitimation of the economic community of West African states (ECOWAS): a normative and institutional inquiry
Authors: Nwankwo, Chidebe
Advisors: Sseyonjo, M
Chigara, B
Keywords: Legitimation;Regional integration;ECOWAS;Human rights;ECOWAS community court of justice (ECCJ)
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: This study is an attempt at determining the normative legitimacy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). At its core, it scrutinizes the current mandate of the organization following the layering of economic integration objectives with human rights protection, sustenance of democracy, and the rule of law. The study discusses the elements of legitimacy across disciplines mainly, international law, international relations and political science. Legitimacy is eventually split along two divides, the normative and descriptive/sociological aspects. The study traces the normative content (shared/common values) underlying integration in Africa, concluding that integration has been born on new ideals such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Expectedly, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as building blocks of the prospective African Economic Community (AEC) under the African Union (AU) regime are mandated to play a vital role in moving the continent forward upon these values. The inquiry is extended to the institutions of ECOWAS to determine their capacity to effectively implement the new mandate of the organization and operate supranationally. In the process, key legal and institutional shortcomings are discussed, particularly in relation to national institutions. It is argued that while human rights protection enhances the normative legitimacy of ECOWAS, it must not be pursued in isolation. Economic integration and protection of citizens’ rights are co-terminus and mutually reinforcing. Hence, community institutions must reflect this link if they are to be effective. The study concludes on the note that, while ECOWAS possesses layers of legitimacy, and have carried out legitimation steps, it cannot be considered a legitimate organization if Member States continue to be non-compliant with community objectives and if key legal questions remain unaddressed. It is submitted that ECOWAS is merely undergoing legitimation, whether it can eventually be considered a legitimate organization is dependent on addressing the identified challenges.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Law
Dept of Politics, History and Law Theses

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