EAC20Plus logo

Legal & Judicial Affairs

Republic of South Sudan to Appoint a Judge to the East African Court of Justice

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 17 March 2017:
The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) will soon appoint a judge to sit on the bench of the First Instance Division of the Arusha-based East African Court of Justice (EACJ).

EACJ judges are usually appointed by the East African Community Heads of State Summit on the recommendation of Partner States.The RSS Judiciary will also provide office space for the Arusha-based court to establish a sub-registry like is the case in the capital cities of the other EAC Partner States

RSS will later appoint a Judge to the Appellate Division of the EACJ once the relevant law is amended to raise the number of judges from five to six.

These were some of the issues agreed on during discussions between the RSS Chief Justice, Hon. Chan Reec Madut, and an EAC delegation led by the Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko in Juba, South Sudan.

The EAC delegation informed the Chief Justice that all relevant legal instruments will be amended to accommodate the RSS which joined the Community in September last year.

The EACJ is the judicial arm of the Community. The Court’s jurisdiction is limited to the interpretation of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.

At a meeting later with the RSS Presidential Advisor on Economic Affairs, Hon. Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, the EAC delegation was informed that the RSS National Legislative Assembly had elected nine (9) Members of Parliament who would represent the country at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

The nine MPs will join their EALA counterparts from the republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania in making laws for the Community.

Hon. Sabuni informed Amb. Mfumukeko that the legislators were drawn from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Army and other political parties in the RSS.

At another meeting with the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan, Hon. Othom Ra go Ajak, the delegation disclosed that the implementation of the East African Monetary Union Protocol was well underway.

The EAC Secretariat had drafted two Bills namely the East African Monetary Institute Bill and the East African Statistics Institute Bill. The two bills will be considered by the 35th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers to be held in Arusha from 30th March to 4th April, 2017.

The East African Monetary Institute is a transitional mechanism to the East African Central Bank which will issue the single currency for the region which is expected to be in place by the year 2024.

The East African Statistics Institute on the other hand is critical for macro-economic convergence and harmonisation as it will provide accurate data and information to guide decision making as the region progresses towards a single currency.

It was noted that the Monetary Union would only function efficiently if the Customs Union and Common Market protocols were fully implemented.

In his remarks, Hon. Ajak informed the EAC delegation that the Bank of South Sudan was already working closely with the other Central Banks of East Africa, adding that the bank will fully participate in EAC activities especially the Sectoral Committee on Finance and Economic Policy.

Amb. Mfumukeko was accompanied by among others EAC Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation), Mr. Charles Njoroge, the Director of Customs, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda, Director of Finance, Mr. Juvenal Ndimurirwo, Defence Liaison Officer (Uganda), Col. James Ruhesi; Ms. Geraldine Umugwaneza, Deputy Registrar at the East African Court of Justice; Mr. Bakaye Lubega, Principal Culture and Sports Officer; Mr. Stephen Agaba, Principal Legal Officer; Dr. James Njagu, Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary General, and; Emmanuel Niyonizigiye, Police Liaison Officer.
 


- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Registrar of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals pays courtesy to EACJ

East African Court of Justice; Arusha, Tanzania; 18 February 2017:

The Registrar of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), His Worship Olufemi Elias, accompanied by Mr. Samuel Akorimo, Head of Office MICT Registry Arusha Branch and Mr. Ousman Njikam, External Relations Officer, Arusha Branch yesterday paid courtesy call on the Judge President of the EACJ.
 
His Lordship Justice Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, President of the Court welcomed the Registrar to the East African Court of Justice and wished the best in his new office as the 2nd Registrar of the Mechanism.
 
The Registrar of the Mechanism expressed his gratitude to visit the EACJ and called upon the Judges and staff of the Court to have access to the records of the MICT for several purposes. His Worship explained that, the Mechanism has two branches: one in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, which covers functions inherited from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Arusha Branch, and the other in the Hague, the Netherlands, which covers functions inherited from the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Hague Branch. The Arusha Branch additionally has a satellite field office located in Kigali, Rwanda ("Kigali Office").
 
His Worship also told the meeting that he heads the Registry of the Mechanism, which is responsible for the institution’s administration. That the Registry also assists the Chambers, and the Office of the Prosecutor, in the performance of their responsibilities through the provision of support services.
 
Mr. Samuel Akorimo, Head of Office MICT Registry Arusha Branch, said that the functions of the Mechanisms include; assistance to national jurisdictions. That with the completion of the ICTR’s mandate at the end of 2015, and the expected completion of the ICTY’s mandate at the end of 2017, further cases related to crimes committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia are now being tried within national jurisdictions.
 
Consequently, the number of requests for assistance from courts, prosecutors, and defence lawyers in relation to national investigations and prosecutions has been growing. That the Mechanism responds to requests for assistance from national authorities and others by providing evidence, facilitating the collection of information, and offering other technical support at their request.
 
He further said that cases referred to national jurisdictions, Pursuant to Article 6(5) of its Statute, the Mechanism is responsible for monitoring cases referred by the ICTR and the ICTY to national courts, with the assistance of international and regional organizations and bodies. That the Mechanism currently monitors five cases referred by the ICTR to national courts.
 
In addition his Worship said that, the Mechanism is responsible for the preservation, including the management and access, of the ICTR, the ICTY, and the Mechanism archives. These archives document investigations, indictments, and court proceedings, the protection of witnesses, work relating to the detention of accused persons, the enforcement of sentences, and the Tribunals’ relationships with States, other law enforcement authorities, international and non-governmental organizations, and the general public.
 
The archives consist of a range of materials, from photographs and documents to maps and audiovisual recordings. That the archives are the property of the United Nations and the Mechanism Archives and Records Section (“MARS”) preserves them in accordance with the highest international standards.
 
The Registrar added that also the Mechanism facilitates the tracking and prosecution of remaining fugitives. He said that eight individuals indicted by the ICTR for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are still at large, three individuals are expected to be tried by the Mechanism, and the cases of the remaining five individuals are expected to be tried in Rwanda. That locating and arresting the remaining ICTR fugitives is a top priority for the Mechanism’s Office of the Prosecutor.
 
He further said that among other functions of the Mechanism is protection of victims and witnesses, that over 10,000 witnesses, many of whom are also victims, gave evidence before the ICTR and the ICTY. In total, 46 per cent of those witnesses were granted protective measures by the Tribunals.  He further said that the Mechanism continues to ensure that witnesses receive protection and support both for ongoing cases before the Mechanism and completed cases from the two Tribunals and the Mechanism.
 
Registrar also added that supervision of enforcement of sentences is a key function of the Mechanisms. Those persons convicted by the ICTR, the ICTY, and the Mechanism serve their sentences in one of the States that have signed an agreement on the enforcement of sentences. That these sentences are enforced in accordance with international standards on detention and the applicable law of the enforcing State, subject to the supervision of the Mechanism. He also said that the President of the Mechanism is responsible for designating the State of enforcement, supervising the enforcement of sentences, and deciding on requests for pardon, commutation of sentence, or early release.
 
That the Mechanism also is responsible for conducting the appeals proceedings, review of the judgements pronounced by the tribunals or Mechanism, retrial of the tribunals or mechanism as well as trials for contempt and false testimony.His Worship called on EACJ for the good cooperation and working relations to render justice.
 
His Lordship, the President of the Court thanked the Registrar of the Mechanism and his team for sparing their time to visit the Court and he pledged continuous working relations between the Court and the Mechanism. The President was accompanied by the Two Judges of the Appellate Justice Liboire Nkurunziza, Vice President and Justice Edward Rutakangwa, who are in Arusha for the sessions as well as the Deputy Registrar, Her Worship Geraldine Umugwaneza and other Staff of the Court.


- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

Yufnalis Okubo
Registrar
East African Court of Justice.
Tel: 255-27-2162149
Email Okubo [at] eachq.org
Arusha, Tanzania
http://www.eacj.org

About the East African Court of Justice:

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ or ‘the Court’), is one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.

Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines its permanent seat. The Court’s sub-registries are located in the respective National Courts in the Partner States

Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya benchmarks EACJ Case Management and Recording System

East African Court of Justice; Arusha, Tanzania; 08 February 2017:

The Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kenya yesterday visited the Court to study the operation of the Case Management and Recording System (CMRS). His Lordship, Justice David Maraga appreciated the invitation by the EACJ President Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja to visit the Court and especially to learn and know how the Regional Court is becoming a digital and paperless Court.

Chief Justice Maraga commended the technology advancement of the EACJ which he observed will increase the efficiency in the judiciary thus rendering justice timely and reducing the backlog of cases. He noted that the Judiciary of Kenya have been trying to introduce the same but has not yet reached to the level required and that with experience from EACJ, they will be able to introduce the similar system too.

His Lordship, the EACJ President, Hon. Justice Ugirashebuja welcomed the Chief Justice and expressed gratitude to him  for accepting his invitation to visit the Regional premises in Arusha . He also commended him for being the first Chief Justice in the Region to visit the Court.

His Lordship Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Judge of the Appellate Division who heads the EACJ Information Technology Committee, presented a rich and detailed paper on the establishment and operations of the case management and recording system at the EACJ as well as in his National Court that is the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Uganda where he also serves as a Judge.

Justice Kiryabwire thanked the Chief Justice for having thought about benchmarking with the EACJ on how CMRS works. He also explained the importance of CMRS as an enabler for an efficient and faster running the Court businesses. Justice Kiryabwire said that the case management and recording  system through electronic filing system addresses the common mistakes of litigants files going missing in the Registries, hence promotes transparency and safety record keeping. He also added that the system supports recording and transcription of proceedings which have replaced handwritten practices that are time consuming and increases paper work.

His Lordship further stated that, the system improves good public perception of the Court and is cost effective because it cuts costs of transporting pleadings from Partner States. That, it is a user friendly system and easy to understand and navigate. Justice Kiryabwire further recommended that, CMRS requires training of the stakeholders and continuous practice until they are used to it. He also pointed  that, for any ICT system in a judiciary to be effective, it needs the following; a vision bearer/ good leadership, attitude change from analog to digital thinking, investment cost, functional / motivated ICT department and staff, working with the Bar and incorporation of the use of ICT in Rules of procedure/ ICT Policy.

In his conclusion Justice Kiryabwire said that, in EACJ the system is not yet open to the Lawyers as modalities are still being put in place for this. Electronic filing can however be done at the Court Sub-registries in the Member States.

The Chief was accompanied by Hon. Justice Stephen Kairu of the Court of Appeal of Kenya and other senior officials from the Judiciary, while the EACJ President with the Judges of the Appellate Division, Registrar of the Court Hon. Yufnalis Okubo and other staff of the Court.


- ENDS -

Notes to Editor: 

Case management System

The case management system developed as an engine to facilitate the court’s procedures and processes. The system currently can perform the processes of the court from first to last stage as expected. Custom built in alignment to the court’s rules of procedure, the system runs just as the traditional processes would. It documents, records and audits each stage of the case in the Court. Developed with the capability of e-filing, this system in the future will give stakeholders capabilities to interact with the court system and file cases at their desks from any location.

Court Recording System

Provided by Jefferson’s Audio and Visio systems (JAVS), and responsible for video and audio court recording, JAVS has fitted the court with both a software and hardware outfit that makes it possible for the court to record its sessions as they proceed and also give the capabilities to live stream sessions as they are going on. This system also built in integration with the case management system to have the cases synchronized with their respective MPEG sessions for reference reasons. This marriage between these systems propels the court to a world class court pushing the boundaries the court to a world class technological platform.

The system was launched by the EAC Heads of State on 30th April 2014 at the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the East African Community in Arusha, Tanzania.

For more information, please contact:

Yufnalis Okubo
Registrar
East African Court of Justice
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: 255-27-2162149
Email: Okubo [at] eachq.org
www.eacj.org

About the East African Court of Justice:

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ or ‘the Court’), is one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty. Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines its permanent seat. The Court’s sub-registries are located in the respective National Courts in the Partner States.

Court decides on Hon. Zziwa’s Case over Her Impeachment from EALA Speakership

East African Court of Justice; Arusha, Tanzania; 06 February 2017:

The First Instance Division on Friday last week delivered a judgement in the case filed by Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa versus the Secretary General of the East African Community.

The Court in its judgement declined to grant the orders to reinstate Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa to the position of the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

The Court said that, its mandate is to interpret and apply the Treaty as it is stated under Article 23 and 27 of the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC within the Principles set out in Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Treaty. Further that one of the principles in Article 6 (d) which is that of democracy and rule of law, which necessarily include the principle of separation of powers and therefore it cannot be seen directing EALA on how it should conduct its business hence it was unable to grant the order.

Also the Court declined to grant orders on special and general damages to the Applicant, it found out that the Applicant have contravened Rule 9(6) of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, which action might have triggered other actions, some patently unlawful. Still that she (Hon. Zziwa) cannot then be seen to benefit from her role in the procedural impasse that dogged the Assembly. Rule 9(6) states that; “The Speaker in respect of whom proceedings for removal have commenced shall not preside over the proceeding”

The Court added that given the interpretative jurisdiction of the Court as depicted in Article 23 and 27 of the Treaty. That it found no legal provision in this Court’s Rules of Procedure for the award of damages as a remedy. The Applicant had asked Court an award of special damages in form of loss of earnings of a salary of USD 6,700 per month and housing allowance of USD 3,000 per month, plus other allowances and financial benefits.

The Court further declined to grant an award of costs in the matter, that the Applicant’s flout of Rule 9(6) of the Assembly by presiding a matter in her own cause and that her conduct as the steward of the Assembly, could have triggered the unfortunate series of the events of her removal. Court ordered each party to bear its own costs.

However, on the other hand the Court also declared that the sitting of the Assembly on 26th November 2014 presided over by a temporary Speaker, an entity and office unknown to the Treaty and the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly was unlawful and violated Article 56 of the Treaty. Article 56 states that; “Presiding in the Assembly; a) the Speaker of the Assembly; or b) in the absence of the Speaker of the Assembly, such elected member of the Assembly as the elected members may elect for the sitting”

In addition to the above, the Court also found that the Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges, in allowing Members of the Assembly who initiated the motion for removal of the Applicant to sit and determine whether she should in fact be removed, violated the basic rules of natural Justice that an accuser cannot also be the judge in proceedings against the accused. Further that any real or perceived bias on the part of the Committee invalidated its proceedings. The Court added that having made the findings regarding the composition of the Committee and its proceedings, it follows that its report, whatever the merit thereof, was rendered invalid.

The judgement was delivered by the Honourable Judges of the First Instance Division, these include; Hon Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi (Principal Judge), Justice Isaac Lenaola (Deputy Principal Judge), Dr. Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo, Justice Fakihi A. Jundu and Justice Audace Ngiye.


- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

Yufnalis Okubo
Registrar
East African Court of Justice
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: 255-27-2162149
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.eacj.org

About the East African Court of Justice:

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ or ‘the Court’), is one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty. Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines its permanent seat. The Court’s sub-registries are located in the respective National Courts in the Partner States.

Court to resume Sessions with the delivery of a Judgement for Hon. Zzziwa


The First Instance Division on Friday 3rd February 2017, will deliver a judgement in the case filed by Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa versus the Secretary General of the East African Community. Hon. Zziwa’s case alleges that the process of her removal from the Office of EALA Speaker was illegal and an infringement of Articles 53 and 56 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. 

Hon. Zziwa was the then elected Speaker of the EALA, after her impeachment, the Assembly elected Hon. Daniel Kidega as the Speaker for  EALA up to date.

The Court heard the court oral evidence from witnesses for both parties’ witnesses (the Applicant and Respondent) from 26th to 29th July 2016. Also court heard oral highlights of written submissions by counsels for the parties on 21st November 2016 that concluded the hearing of the case. The judgement will be delivered by the Honourable Judges of the First Instance Division; these are; Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi (Principal Judge), Justice Isaac Lenaola (Deputy Principal Judge), Dr. Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo, Justice Fakihi A. Jundu and Justice Audace Ngiye.

On 15th February, the Appellate Division will also resume sessions which will go up to 28th February 2017. Only four appeals will come up before the Court for scheduling conferences and hearing. All appeals will be brought before the Honourable Judges of the Appellate Division; Dr. Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja (President), Justice Liboire Nkurunziza (Vice President), Justice Edward Rutakangwa, Justice Aaron Ringera, and Geoffrey Kiryabwire.

On 28th February the First Instance Division, will again continue with the sessions up to 30th March 2017. A number of cases will come up for hearing, scheduling conferences and delivery of rulings and Judgments. These include; 5 hearings, 4 scheduling conferences, 2 rulings, 1 Judgement and other 2 matters.

The Court seats for a month every quarter due to the ad-hoc nature service of the Judges. Currently the President and the Principal Judge of the court are the only resident Judges in Arusha, other Judges come only when there are sessions or other court business.

All matters will be in open Court 2nd Floor EACJ wing.


- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

 

 

 


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org