ECOWAS community Court of Justice says it invested over 345,000 dollars to migrate to virtual technology infrastructure as a fallout of last year’s Covid 19 pandemic.
In his goodwill message to the ongoing virtual 2nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, the President of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante said the measure which commenced on 22nd June 2020, became necessary to enable the court to continue in its discharge of duty.
He gave a breakdown of the expenditure to include,
the Purchase and installation of Video Conferencing Equipment; Purchase and deployment of fourteen (14) Laptops and Accessories including Servers, Routers, Switches, Backup Solutions, Wireless Access Points etc.; Purchase and installation of an Inverter System to provide backup Power Supply and thus guarantee continuous power supply during Court sittings; Purchase and installation of SOPHO S FIREWALL and Anti-Virus Solution; Purchase and installation of Microsoft 365 used by all ECOWAS Institutions; and Increased the Internet Bandwidth”.
Justice Asante said as a result of the pandemic, the initial disruption of the conduct on the court session, affected 60 cases that were scheduled for hearing and judgement.
Accordingly, he said the deployment of the virtual technology has ” brought about uninterrupted Court sessions and Court related operations despite the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic; Improvement in turnaround time for Court hearings; General improvement in the management of case files, recording of sittings and the speedy delivery of judgments.”
He further noted that it has helped “savings on legal costs consisting of travel air tickets of litigants, agents, lawyers and witnesses as well as logistics and hotel costs; The benefits of no personal contacts between the Bench and the lawyers, agents litigants and Witnesses with the attendant infectious risks”.
Another benefit of the deployment of the virtual technology , was that it addressed the court’s reliance on IT Support staff.
“One of the implications of the deployment of this technology was that the effective functioning of the Court was dependent of the quantum and quality of the IT support staff. Until recently, the Court had to rely on contract staff to provide the IT support for its activities whose appointments have thankfully been regularized”.
The President of the Community Court said following the adoption of the virtual technology, judges and key staff members of the court have undergone training.