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Legal & Judicial Affairs

East African Legal Aid Regional Network Conference underway in Nairobi

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 6th November, 2018: The East African Legal Aid Regional Network Conference organized by the East African Committee on Judicial Education (EAJEC),International Development Law Organization (IDLO), National Legal Aid Service (NLAS), and the Paralegal Support Network (PASUNE) is underway at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

Among the items on the agenda are to enhance established links between civil society legal aid providers including paralegals, NGOs and state justice actors in the East Africa region as well as establishing additional measures that can ensure that the expertise of non-state actors is shared with other legal aid providers, including employees of state-run legal aid schemes and members of the legal profession.

In addition, the conference is considering whether a referral system can be developed in cooperation with non-state actors, in which some of the cases received by paralegals and NGOs can be referred to lawyers and jurists active in the field of legal aid.

The four-day conference is being coordinated through panel discussions with plenary sessions; guided discussions facilitated by experts to help identify and expose different views and levels of appreciation of thematic issues; breakout sessions on thematic areas; and informal/Side events to foster policy dialogue.

The expected outputs of the conference will include an Agreement on a mechanism to monitor and report on progress on enhancement of Access to Justice through both formal and informal Legal Aid systems in East Africa; an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding to guide the establishment of the East Africa Regional Legal Aid Network as well as a conference report that will include an outcome document with recommendations agreed by formal and informal Justice actors on the development of state funded legal aid systems in their respective jurisdictions.

The conference is being attended by 50 participants drawn from a pool of policy makers, legal aid practitioners including representatives of the respective Ministries of Justice, the Judiciary Training Institutes in the region, the EAC Secretariat, Regional Bar Associations, Offices of Public Prosecution, Pro bono Lawyers, the East Africa Law Society, relevant UN agencies and other Development Partners.

In addition, Paralegal support networks, members of the Civil Society, law schools in Universities that operate legal aid clinics, Faith Based and Community Based Organizations from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan  are also in attendance.

Notes to Editors

The conference is a follow-on to previous initiatives that lay the foundation for improved Access to Justice in the East Africa region through enhanced Legal Aid service provision.

In commitment to the advancement of the rule of law in Africa, IDLO and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania co-hosted a pan-African Conference in Dar es Salaam under the theme “ACHIEVING THE 2030 AGENDA AND AGENDA 2063: The Rule of Law as a Driver of Africa’s Sustainable Development,” which took place on 1st and 2nd June 2016. The Dar es Salaam Conference concluded with concrete suggestions for future activities, including (a) the pressing need to improve access to justice; and (b) the need to engage with informal and community justice systems as one of the main means of accessing justice in Africa. It identified legal aid as a critical component in the promotion of access to justice.

In addition, the conference builds on the outcomes of the 2nd International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems held in Argentina in November 2016. The Argentina conference deliberated on effective strategies to improve access to justice consistent with the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice

Systems (UN Principles and Guidelines), adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 67/187. The conference identified various avenues for the promotion of legal aid, including (a) the establishment of national, regional and international specialized networks of legal aid providers; (b) the exchange of information; and (c) the sharing of international best practices and expertise, as called for in May 2016 through resolution 25/2 of the 25th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).

The  conference is intended to create a regional platform for the engagement of state and non-state agencies involved in legal aid, and to encourage them to build linkages between their regional networks and the formal justice systems with a view of enhancing access to justice in Africa.

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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. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

36th Meeting of the Council of Ministers ends at the Coordination Committee Level in Kampala

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 4th December, 2017:

The 36th meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers ended at the Coordination Committee level following a request from one of the Partner States to conduct the Ministerial session at a later date preferably in the month of January 2018.

Themed Enhancing Socio-Economic Development for Deeper Integration of the Community, the 36th meeting of the Council had the Session of Senior Officials running from Monday 27th November to Wednesday 29th November, 2017 and the session of the Coordination Committee (Permanent /Principal/Under Secretaries) from 30th November to 1st December, 2017 at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, Uganda.

The Council of Ministers is the Policy Organ of the Community. It consists of the Ministers responsible for East African Community/regional cooperation of each Partner State and such other Ministers of the Partner State as each Partner State shall determine. Among its functions, the Council promotes, monitors and keeps under constant review the implementation of the programmes of the Community and ensures the proper functioning of the regional organization.

For the Council to be well-constituted and conduct business, all the six EAC Partner States – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda – must be represented. At the time of the 36th meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers, the Republic of Kenya was in the process of forming a new Cabinet following the swearing-in of H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday 28th November, 2017 following his re-election for a second term as the President.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the EAC, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko on 30th November, 2017 received the Report of the EAC Election Observation Mission to the 26th October Repeat Presidential Election In Kenya, from the Head of the Mission, Hon. Prof. Edward B. Rugumayo.

In a brief hand-over ceremony held at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Hon. Prof. Rugumayo commended the Community for entrusting him with such a task and hoped that the observations and recommendations contained in the detailed report will be considered and acted upon by the appropriate authorities at the EAC with a view to strengthening democracy and election processes in the region.

On his part, Amb. Mfumukeko commended the Head of the Mission for his dedicated work that enabled the Community to receive the Report in a timely manner. He disclosed that the Report will be submitted to the EAC Council of Ministers for consideration and guidance.

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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. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 2008:9001 Certified

A cross section of the delegates attending the 36th meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers.

36th Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers underway in Kampala, Uganda

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 27th November 2017:

The 36th meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers is taking place from 27th November to 2nd December, 2017 at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, Uganda.

Themed Enhancing Socio - Economic Development for Deeper Integration of the Community, the 36th meeting of the Council started today with the Session of Senior Officials which will run up to Wednesday 29th November, 2017. The session of the Coordination Committee (Permanent /Principal/Under Secretaries) is on 30th to 1st of December while the Ministerial Session will be held on Saturday 2nd December, 2017.

The meeting is considering several matters geared towards deepening and widening the regional integration agenda that include the: Report on the implementation of Previous Decisions of the Council; Report of the Office of the Secretary General; Report on Planning and Infrastructure, and; Report on Productive and Social Sectors.

Other Reports to be considered are: the Report on Political Matters; Customs and Trade; Report on the Finance and Administration Matters; and Reports of other EAC Organs i.e. East African Legislative Assembly and East African Court of Justice.

Reports of EAC Institutions are also on the agenda namely the; East African Civil Aviation Safety, Security and Oversight Agency; Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization; Inter-University Council for East Africa; East African Development Bank; Lake Victoria Basin Commission; East African Science and Technology Commission; East African Kiswahili Commission, and; the East African Health Research Commission

The Council of Ministers is the Policy Organ of the Community. It consists of the Ministers responsible for East African Community/regional cooperation of each Partner State and such other Ministers of the Partner State as each Partner State shall determine. Among its functions, the Council promotes, monitors and keeps under constant review the implementation of the programmes of the Community and ensures the proper functioning of the regional organization.

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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. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 2008:9001 Certified

Court declines to grant order to stop EAC Partner States from signing of EPA

East African Court of Justice; Arusha, Tanzania; 07 July 2017:

The First Instance Division declined to grant orders sought by one Castro Pius from the United Republic of Tanzania, to stop the Partner States which have not signed the European Partnership Agreement (EPA) not to sign the same and those who have signed it from carrying out any further procedures and processes. The EAC Member States which have not signed include the Republics of Burundi (1st Respondent), South Sudan (4th Respondent) and the United Republic of Tanzania (5th Respondent) and the Republic of Uganda (6th Respondent), those that have signed are the Republics of Kenya (2nd Respondent) and Rwanda (3rd Respondent).

The Court in its Ruling said that the Applicant has failed to establish an irreparable injury that he would suffer that could not be compensated by an award of damages if the injunctive order sought is not granted. This was after he argued in his application, that he allegedly stands to suffer irreparable economic loss and serious violation of his rights under the Treaty, if the Partner States sign the EPA. It was also in the Applicant’s further contention, that the way some Partner States had acted individually in signing the EPA was harmful to the Community and to the East African economy.

In addition the Court when pressed the Applicant to expound on the irreparable economic loss and the violation of rights that he stood to suffer, he was unable to make the link between the impugned signing of the EPA and the alleged irreparable harm that the said signing would cause.

Furthermore, the Court stated that in view of the decision of the 18th Summit of Heads of States held in Dar-es-Salaam on 20th May 2017 stating that the remaining Partner States that had not signed the EPA were not in a position to do so pending clarification of the issues they had identified in the Agreement. That it appears that there is no harm to the Applicant if the injunctive order sought is not granted.

The Court went ahead and said that the Applicant failed to clarify the alleged procedures and processes had to be restrained in regard to Partner States which had already signed the Agreement that is Rwanda and Kenya, Kenya having even ratified it.

The Court also added that as far as the status of the EPA process is concerned, negotiations on the Agreement were concluded in October 2014 and the same was initialled by all EAC Partner States at the time and thereafter, the signing of the EPA was considered by the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment, which directed the Secretary General of the Community (the 7th respondent) to liaise with the EU in order to organize the signing ceremony of the EPA.

The Court further declined to grant the order sought by the Applicant, directing the Secretary General (7th Respondent) to withdraw forthwith from any negotiations initiated with the EU in view of the 17th Extra-ordinary Summit decision aforesaid until a final decision on the Reference is delivered. The Court said that, the EPA negotiations were concluded in October 2014 and therefore, such an order cannot be granted as the negotiation phase is now closed.

Present in Court to receive the Ruling were the Representatives of the 2nd Respondent (Kenya) represented by Ms. Jenifer Gitiri, Senior State Counsel and Maurice Ogosso, State Counsel, the 5th Respondent (Tanzania) was represented by Ms Aidah Kisumo, Senior State Attorney, the 6th Respondent (Uganda), represented by Elisha Bafirawara and the 7th Respondent Secretary General represented by Stephen Agaba. The representatives of the 1st Respondent (Burundi), the 3rd Respondent (Rwanda), and the 4th Respondent (South Sudan), were not present in Court.

The Ruling of the Court was read by Hon. Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo, of the First Instance Division in open Court.


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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.

Registrar of the Mechanism for International Tribunals pays courtesy call on Secretary General

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 16 June 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 today paid courtesy call on the EAC Secretary General, Amb Liberat Mfumukeko. The Secretary General and his guests explored areas of collaboration including Peace and Security in the region.

The Secretary General briefed His Worship Olufemi Elias on the current achievements in the pillars of the regional integration and development process. He disclosed to the Registrar that the Community had expanded tremendously within a short spell of time which has necessitated a review of its institutional set-up and work on a sustainable financing mechanism.

On his part, the Registrar informed the Secretary General on the structure of MICT and 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”).

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 includes; investigations documents , 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 other law enforcement authorities in member countries.

Mr. Samuel Akorimo, Head of Office MICT Registry Arusha Branch added 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.

Accompanying the Secretary General at the meeting was the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration, Hon Jesca Eriyo.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General also met the Director of the East African Local Governments Association (EALGA), Eastern Africa Regional Office, Dr Juma Menhya accompanied by his Programme Assistant, Mr Baraka Marandu who had paid him a courtesy call in his office.

The Secretary General and his guest discussed several issues including how EALGA can strengthening their advocacy and commitment with EAC and other intergovernmental bodies by establishing structured dialogue platforms.


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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.

 The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2008 Certified


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