EAC judicial experts to scrutinise courts’ roles

REGIONAL judicial experts are set to assess the role of national and regional courts in bridging the access to justice gap for cross-border trade disputes.

The experts will perform the crucial task at the regional African Court of Justice Judicial Conference to be held in Uganda, later this month.

Slated for October 26 to 28, the objective of the Conference is to stimulate high-level conversations and discussions on emerging legal and judicial issues including, emerging jurisprudence, issues affecting Courts and Court users and provide a platform for information sharing among judges, judicial officers and legal practitioners and other Court users in the region.

The judicial gathering which will also feature chief justices, ministers of justice, attorneys general, ministers in charge of EAC affairs, judges from regional and national courts among others, will be officiated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, according to a media release by the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat.

Other topics that will take center stage during the conference also include, Access to Justice and Equality before the Law, The Internet as an Enabler of Freedom of Expression and Public Debate and the Modernization of Courts.

Following the conclusion of the conference, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) will hold its annual rotational court sessions during the month of November at the Commercial Court of Uganda premises in Kampala.

To mark the EACJ’s 20th anniversary, the court had in 2021 launched the rotation of its November Court Sessions, with the first rotational session being held in Bujumbura, Burundi November 8 to 26, the same year.

The objective of rotating the Court’s November sessions is to bring the services of the Court closer to the people and to enhance the visibility of the Court as it undertakes its mandate of promoting access to justice by ensuring adherence to law in the interpretation and application and of compliance with the EAC Treaty.

The court through its mandate continues to settle disputes and develop key jurisprudence on matters of regional integration.

The court mainly handles disputes arising from the violation of fundamental and operational principles that govern the achievement of the objectives of the Community by the EAC partner states as enshrined in the Treaty under Articles 6 (d) and 7 (2).

Such principles include good governance, adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality as well as recognition, promotion and protection of human and people’s rights in accordance with the African charter on Human and Peoples’ rights.

The EACJ cannot undertake its mandate independent of Partner States’ support and collaboration and it’s in that regard that the President of the Court, Justice Nestor Kayobera has been engaging with senior government officials from the Ministry of EAC Affairs, the Judiciary as key stakeholders in the activities of the Court.

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