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Legal & Judicial Affairs

EAC Chief Justices call for increases funding for Judiciaries in the region

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 18th December, 2021The East African Chief Justices Forum (EACJF) has called for increased funding for national judiciaries and the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).

EACJF, which brings together Partner States’ Chief Justices and the Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, said that budgetary allocation to the judiciaries in the region should be substantially enhanced to allow the judiciary to exercise its mandate in a timely and efficient manner. 

The Chief Justices said that the judiciary budget should be ring-fenced as a fixed percentage of the national budget, 2.5% of the annual budget.

The 6th EACJC, which was chaired by Kenya’s Chief Justice Martha Koome, further agreed to establish a modern, functional, stable, and 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.  

It was agreed that the Chief Justices of each country and President of the EACJ shall personally take charge in leading the automation processes within their jurisdictions. 

The resolutions are 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 from 15th to 16th December, 2021 and that were adopted by the Forum on Friday, 17th December, 2021. 

The Chief Justices 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 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 of trans-boundary crimes. 

On alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, the Chief Justices agreed to support the establishment, financing, and operationalization of the Small Claims Courts, Plea Bargaining, and Arbitration and Mediation as suitable mechanisms for delivering quicker and affordable ways of delivering justice to vulnerable people. 

It was agreed that respective Judiciaries strengthen performance evaluation as a way of enhancing individual and institutional accountability.

On the harmonisation of judicial systems in the region, the EACJC agreed to pursue the harmonisation of legal training, certification and promoting standardisation of judgments in the judiciaries of the Partner States. 

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

“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. 

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

Dr. Mathuki hailed national judiciaries and the EACJ for adopting e-services that have ensured continued delivery of justice to East Africans during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He commended the Judiciary of Kenya for its efforts to establish courts near border posts to resolve cross-border trade disputes and encouraged the other judiciaries to establish the same, adding that such courts would help resolve cross-border disputes and make the integration process seamless. 

For more information, please contact:

Simon Peter Owaka
Senior Public Relations Officer
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 768 552087
Email: sowaka [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

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

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2015 Certified

EAC Secretary General Hon. Dr Peter Mathuki and Hon. Justice Martha Koome, Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya making entry at the Joint Symposium of the Forum of East African Community Chief Justices and the East African Judicial Education Committee in Mombasa, Kenya.

EAC Partner States to benefit from Judicial Education with the upgrading of Kenya Judiciary Academy into a regional hub

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 15th December, 2021The Government of Kenya will support the National Judiciary's quest to develop the Kenya Judiciary Academy into a regional hub that would be beneficial to all EAC Partner States, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said. 

President Kenyatta further disclosed that his government has allocated 55 acres of land in Nairobi for the construction of a world-class Kenya Judiciary Academy in a move to boost judicial education in Kenya and beyond. 

“This support is already underway and the Kenya Judiciary Academy is already supporting the training of judges and judicial officers from Somalia and South Sudan,” said President Kenyatta. 

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The EAJEC Chairperson, Justice Smokin Wanjala (seated centre), other EAJEC members, judicial officials and EAC Staff during the EAJEC meeting held in Mombasa.

National Judicial Training Institutes in EAC Partner States urged to prioritise their training needs when engaging Development Partners

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 15th December, 2021The East African Judicial Education Committee (EAJEC) has urged National Judicial Training Institutes in EAC Partner States to prioritise their training needs when seeking support from Development Partners. 

EAJEC observed that National Judicial Training Institutes know their training needs and should be allowed to implement them to fill the existing human resource gaps in national judiciaries.  

EAJEC emphasised the need for the Judicial Training Institutes to set up a standing fund that can be utilized where donor funds fall short.

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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.

-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. 

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.

-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. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 2008:9001 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