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Ford Foundation and EACJ Explore Collaborative Pathways to Strengthen Justice and Civic Space Across the EAC Region

East African Court of Justice, Arusha, Tanzania, 3rd May, 2024:  The Ford Foundation, East Africa Regional Director, Ms. Jessica Horn, on Friday paid a courtesy call on the Judge President of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Justice Nestor Kayobera, at the EACJ offices in Arusha, Tanzania.

In their meeting, the two leaders explored avenues of collaboration and discussed the Foundation's initiatives in bolstering justice, expanding civic space and the rule of law across the region.

Representatives from both Organisations engaged in constructive dialogue regarding the critical role of the Ford Foundation in supporting initiatives that advance justice, protect human rights and civic space and uphold the rule of law across the globe. The Foundation's commitment to fostering equitable access to justice and strengthening democratic institutions was underscored as essential pillars for sustainable development and social progress.

Discussions delved into the challenges and opportunities faced by the Court in promoting regional integration, resolving disputes, upholding the Principles of the Community as well as the  interpretation of the EAC Treaty.

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Speaking at the meeting, Ms. Horn said that collaboration between the Ford Foundation and the EACJ presents a remarkable opportunity to strengthen legal education and capacity-building initiatives within the region.

“By equipping law schools with the tools to navigate the legal resources available at the EACJ, we empower future generations of legal professionals to contribute effectively to the advancement of justice and the rule of law in East Africa," said Ms. Horn.

On his part, Justice Kayobera shared insights into the pivotal role of the Court in safeguarding the principles of the Community and ensuring adherence to legal standards across Partner States.

Justice Kayobera further said that the Court is a beacon of legal integrity within the region, adding that collaboration with organizations like the Ford Foundation emphasises the importance of training lawyers on the intricacies of Community law.

“Empowering legal professionals with this knowledge enables them to effectively support the people of the region in the alignment of Community law and fostering a more just and equitable society for all in the region,” added Justice Kayobera.

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During the meeting, a range of possible areas of collaboration with the EACJ were presented, reflecting the Court’s commitment to advancing justice, strengthening legal frameworks and promoting regional integration within the EAC.

These potential collaboration areas include: training initiatives for Judges and court staff in various thematic areas to enhance the Court's jurisprudence; supporting Judges through engagement of legal researchers; sponsoring the annual EACJ Judicial Conference; and organising a Bar-Bench Forum to convene justice actors in the region.

Additionally, proposals were made for: the compilation and publication of EACJ Law Reports; conducting studies on the implementation of Court decisions by EAC Partner States; providing training for Judges from national Judiciaries; and sponsoring a regional moot court competition for university students.

As both the Ford Foundation and the EACJ remain committed to advancing justice, promoting human rights, and upholding the rule of law within East Africa, the meeting served as a foundational step towards forging a mutually beneficial partnership to address the region's most pressing challenges.

The Ford Foundation Regional Director for East Africa was accompanied by Senior Programme Officer, Ms. Margaret Mliwa, and the Grants Manager, Ms. Esther Ngoda.

For more information please contact:

Christine Mutimura,
Deputy 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.

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization committed to advancing social justice, reducing poverty, and promoting democratic values worldwide. With a focus on addressing inequality and fostering inclusive development, the Foundation supports initiatives across various sectors, including education, economic opportunity, and civic engagement.

About the EACJ

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. The Court was established in November 2001, its key mandate 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 capitals of the following Partner States: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania.

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