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Establishment and Composition of the East African Court of Justice

The East African Community was revived on November 30, 1999, when the Treaty for its re-establishment was signed.  It came into force on 7 July 2000, 23 years after the total collapse of the defunct Community and its organs.

This followed a process of re-integration which was embarked on in 1993, and which involved tripartite programmes of co-operation in political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defense, security, legal and judicial affairs. 

It is hoped that the framework provided for under the Treaty will foster regional peace and security, while providing an appropriate response for economic development and competitiveness in light of globalization of trade and transnational corporations. 


The East African Court of Justice

The East African Court of Justice (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.

The defunct East African Court of Appeal was a court of appeal from decisions of the National Courts on both civil and criminal matters except constitutional matters and the offence of treason for Tanzania.  The East African Court of Justice is different in composition and jurisdiction. It is an international court unlike the defunct East African Court of Appeal which handled only appeals from national courts.

The Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the Treaty.

Operationalisation of the Court
Following its inauguration by the Summit and the swearing in of Judges and the Registrar on 30th November 2001, the East African Court of Justice became operational. The operations of the Court during the transitional period are ad hoc until the Council of Ministers determines that there is enough business to make it full operational.  This means that judges are not required to permanently reside in Arusha where the temporary seat of the Court is located but they only convene to conduct the business of the Court when the need to do so arises. 

 


Composition of the Court

The Judges of the Court are appointed by the Summit from among sitting judges of any National court of judicature or from jurists of recognized competence and the Registrar is appointed by the Council of Ministers.

The President and the Vice President are also appointed by the Summit from the Judges of the Court. Originally composed of six Judges, two from each of the three father founders of the Community namely The Republics of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the Court is currently composed of ten Judges, following the accession of the Republics of Burundi and Rwanda to the Community.

In addition, following the amendment of the Treaty establishing the East African Community that was carried out on 14th December, 2006 and 20th August, 2007, the Court was reconstituted to have two divisions: a First Instance Division and an Appellate Division.

The current composition of the Court is as follows:

Appellate Division
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Harold Reginald Nsekela - President of the Court (United Republic of Tanzania)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Phillip Kiptoo Tunoi - Vice President (Republic Of Kenya)
  • Hon. Lady. Justice Emillie R. Kayitesi (Republic of Rwanda)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Laurent Nzosaba (Republic of Burundi)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice James Ogoola (Republic of Rwanda)
First Instance Division
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Johnston Busingye - Principal Judge (Republic of Rwanda)
  • Hon. Lady. Justice Mary Stella Arach-Amoko- Deputy Principal Judge (Republic of Uganda)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice John Mkwawa (United Republic of Tanzania)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice J. Butasi (Republic of Burundi)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Benjamin Patrick Kubo (Republic of Kenya)
Retired Judges
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Joseph Sinde Warioba (The United Republic of Tanzania)
  • Hon. Lady. Justice Solomy Bossa (Republic of Uganda)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Moijo ole Keiwua-President (Republic of Kenya)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Augustino Ramadhani (The United Republic of Tanzania)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Joseph Nyamihana Mulenga- President (Republic of Uganda)
  • Hon. Mr. Justice Kassanga Mulwa-Principal Judge (Republic of Kenya)

The court has jurisdiction to hear and determine:

  • Disputes on the  interpretation and application of the Treaty.
  • Disputes between the Community and its   employees arising from the terms and conditions of employment or the interpretation and application of the staff rules and regulations
  • Disputes between the Partner States regarding the Treaty if the dispute is submitted to it under a special agreement
  • Disputes arising out of an arbitration clause contained in a contract or agreement which confers such jurisdiction on the Court  to which the Community or any of its institutions is a party
  • Disputes arising out of an arbitration clause contained in a commercial contract or agreement in which the parties have conferred jurisdiction on the Court
  • The jurisdiction of the Court may be extended to appellate and human rights at a suitable date to be determined by the Council

 
Advisory Opinions of the Court
The Summit, the Council or a Partner State may request the Court to give an advisory opinion regarding a question of law arising from the Treaty and which affects the Community.
 


The Court may review its judgment upon discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, was not within its knowledge or could not be produced at the time when the judgment was passed, or on account of some mistake, fraud or error apparent on the face of the record, or  because an injustice has been done.
 
Who can institute proceedings?
Partner States: A Partner State may make a reference to the Court: If it considers that another Partner State or an organ or an institution of the Community has failed to fulfil an obligation or has infringed a provision of the Treaty, may refer the matter to the Court. A State may also seek the Court to determine the legality of any Act, regulation, directive decision or action on the ground that it is ultra vires or unlawful or infringes the provisions of the Treaty

Secretary General: If a Partner State fails to fulfil its obligation under the Treaty, the Secretary General may refer the matter to the Court

Reference by Legal and Natural Persons: A legal or natural person resident in any of the Partner States may challenge the legality of any Act, regulation, directive, decision or action of a Partner State or an institution of the Community on the grounds that it infringes the provisions of the Treaty.
 
Rules Applicable
The Court has so far put in place the Rules of Procedure and the Rules of Arbitration. The rules are simple and user friendly.
 
Execution of Judgments
The execution of judgments of the Court, which imposes a pecuniary obligation on a person, shall be governed by the rules of civil procedure in force in the Partner State in which execution is to take place. Where there is no pecuniary obligation involved, the Partner States and the Council are under obligation to implement a judgment of the Court without delay.

► EACJ's Delivery of Judgement in the First Case, 4th October 2006

► Other Judgements and Rulings of the Court

Court Registry

Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines the permanent seat of the Court. The High Courts of the Partner States shall serve as sub-registries.

 
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