East African court set to adjudicate cases while sitting in Uganda

The East African Court of Justice will this month sit in Uganda to adjudicate new cases, appeals and deliver judgements on a number of cases filed before it.

This is part of the court’s efforts to move away from its headquarters in Arusha Tanzania and move to the different East African Community member states while dispensing justice . Its part of the court ‘s strategy to bring the spirit of regional integration closer to all the peoples of East Africa .

“Last year we were in  Burundi and decided this year the court will sit in Uganda. The court belongs to the people of East Africa and the court must be brought near the people,” said Justice Nestor Kayobera, the president of the East African Court of Justice.

He was speaking during a training session for journalists on the operations of the East African Court of Justice held at Mestil Hotel in Kampala .Justice Kayobera said a number of cases filed before the court and appeals will be heard as well as rulings given by the court sitting in Kampala between November 2 and December 2, 2022.

“We will be sitting in the Commercial Court of Uganda for one month. The court session will be for matters coming from all the partner member states and not only Uganda. Journalists will also be allowed to cover the proceedings of the court in order to pass on accurate information to members of the public.”

The Court will hear matters regarding human rights, implementing the community agenda, cross border issues and integration among others .

Justice Kayobera said the training was aimed at equipping members of the fourth estate with knowledge about the working of the regional court to enable them disseminate accurate and timely information to members of the public in a concerted effort to foster integration.

The president of the East Africa Law Society, Bernard Oundo said thus; ” Members of the public can never ably get information about the court unless the media is strengthened. Through the training, the media and society at large ought to be awakened about the need for integration and the role each of the EAC institutions plays to ensure integration,”Oundo added.

Deputy Registrar of the East African Court of Justice, Christine Mutimura, explained that the regional court which was inaugurated in November 2001 and heard its first case in 2005 has the first instance division and the appellant division. “In a year, this court handles averagely 40 cases and filing is free of charge. Judges to the court are nominated by their partner states and appointed by the summit of the heads of state of the East African Community,”Mutimura said.

“Our biggest achievement is that jurisprudence has grown over the years. The court has highlighted areas where partner states have failed to comply with the East African Community treaty obligations but the court also continues to promote regional integration through groundbreaking decisions.”

Mutimura said a limited budget is a challenge to the court since its operations depend on contributions of partner states which usually come in late but are also not enough.

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