EAC Justices call for  increased judiciaries funding

EAC Justices call for increased judiciaries funding

REGIONAL Chief Justices have called for increased funding for national judiciaries and the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).

Through the East African Chief Justices Forum (EACJF), the Chief Justices insisted that budgetary allocation to the judiciaries ought to be substantially enhanced to allow them to exercise their mandates in a timely and efficient manner.

They further observed that the budgets should be ringfenced as a fixed percentage of the national budget which is 2.5 per cent of the annual budget. Chaired by Kenya’s Chief Justice Martha Koome, the 6th EACJF further agreed to establish a modern, functional, sustainable ICT ecosystem for the Judiciaries in all Partner States.

The Chief Justices affirmed that it was essential that courts deepen and expand the use of technology in their operations through investment in infrastructure; recruitment of enough personnel; continuous training of judges, judicial officers and staff; continuous public education; and increased budget allocation to judicial digitization.

“Chief Justices of each country and President of the EACJ shall personally take charge in leading the automation processes within their jurisdictions,” read part of the agreement contained in the resolutions of the Joint Symposium of the Forum of EAC Chief Justices and the East African Judicial Education Committee that was held in Mombasa, Kenya.

The Chief Justices equally urged the EAC Secretariat to formalize the institutional standing of the Forum of EAC Chief Justices, which should advise on the implementation of policies and programmes that foster adherence to the rule of law, good governance and share concerns with the Council and the Summit when needed.

The Forum agreed that Chief Justices should initiate the Chief Justice-Private Sector Roundtables in their respective Partner States and at the regional level to function as avenues for dialogue that can facilitate an enabling business environment and increase efficiency in resolving commercial disputes.

On regional cooperation in the enforcement of law and order, it was agreed that the respective judiciaries establish modalities to enhance closer regional collaboration in combating trans-boundary crimes.

Speaking at the Forum, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki (pictured) described the EAC Chief Justices’ Forum as a big step in strengthening judicial systems in the EAC region.

“The EACJF-EACJEC Joint Symposium’s Resolutions were pertinent on how to improve judicial systems capacity to deliver justice to East Africans,” said Dr Mathuki, adding that efficient delivery of justice was in line with the views of the Summit of EAC Heads of State in taking the Community to the people at the grassroots.

The EAC boss further Mathuki emphasized the need to embrace a cooperative and collaborative approach in terms of how the EAC and National Judiciaries conduct business.

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