East Africa Court of Justice

Introduction

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ), the Judicial arm of the East African Community (EAC) established under Article 9 of The Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community (hereinafter referred to as the Treaty) was inaugurated in November 2001with the swearing in of the first batch of Judges and of the Registrar.

The Court has been in existence for ten years now. From a Court of one Chamber, the Court was by amendment of the Treaty in 2006, transformed into a two Chamber Court namely: the First Instance Division and the Appellate Division.

Composition
At its inception, the EACJ was composed of six judges. This representation reflected equal representation of two Judges from each of the then three Partner States of the Community- namely Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In 2006 and 2007, the Treaty was amended and as a result of which the number of Judges was raised to a maximum of fifteen: and the Court was reconstituted into two Divisions: the First Instance Division, and the Appellate Division.

Article 24(2) OF THE Treaty provides that not more than ten judges shall be appointed to the First Instance Division and not more than five shall be appointed to the Appellate Division.

Currently, the Court is comprised of ten judges. Following the accession of Rwanda and Burundi in July 2007, the composition of the Court reflects equal representation of the current membership of the Community, namely two judges from each of the five Partner States- with each Division of the Court having one Judge from each Partner State.

The Summit designates two judges of the Appellate Division as President and Vice-President respectively as well as two Judges of the First Instance Division as Principal Judge and Deputy-Principal Judge. The President, Vice-President and the Principal Judge, Deputy Principal Judge cannot be nationals of the same Partner State.

The Office of the President of the Court is held in rotation.
The Treaty provides for a Registrar of the Court, appointed by the Council of Ministers from citizens of the Partner States qualified to hold high judicial office in their respective national jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction
The Court’s jurisdiction encompasses the interpretation and application of the Treaty. Additionally, the Court has jurisdiction to render Advisory opinions when requested to do so by the Summit, the Council of Ministers or a Partner State. Likewise, the Court has a mandate to conduct Arbitration proceedings, when specially called upon to do so by the relevant parties to a contract or by special agreement between the Partner States. Furthermore, the Court has jurisdiction to entertain employment disputes between the Community (including its Organs or Institutions) and its Employees. Moreover, under Article 27(2) of the Treaty, the Court has been granted “such other original, appellate, human rights and other jurisdiction as will be determined by the Council of Ministers at a suitable subsequent date”.

Appointment and Tenure of Judges
Judges are appointed by the Summit from among persons recommended by the partner States who are of proven integrity, impartiality and independence and who fulfill the conditions required in their own countries for the holding of high judicial office or who are jurists of recognized competence in their respective Countries. Judges of the Court are appointed for a maximum period of seven years.

However, to ensure continuity in the Court’s composition, the tenure of Judges is staggered: the first batch of Judges had a staggered tenure of five years, six years and seven years. The Treaty Amendments of 2006-2007 continued this principle of staggered terms. A judges tenure is, nonetheless, subject to resignation, death, removal from office in accordance with the Treaty, or upon attaining the age of seventy years.

  1. Court declines to grant an ex parte order to Basajjabalaba (Ugandan) to stop the government from summoning him for investigation over a criminal case

    East African Court of Justice Arusha, 24th April 2018: The First Instance Division declined to grant ex parte orders (Order granted in the absence of the opposing party) to Mr Hassan Basajjabalaba (Ugandan), to stop the government of Uganda from summoning him for investigation over a criminal case. The ex-parte Application was filed on 17th […] Read Full Article

  2. Court allows Hon Mbidde’s application to join a case challenging the election of EALA Speaker

    East African Court of Justice Arusha, 24th April 2018: The First Instance Division granted leave to Hon Fred Mukasa Mbidde, to join as an intervener in the case challenging the legality of the election of the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), that was filed by the Attorney General of the Republic of […] Read Full Article

  3. Council to pursue EACJ’s Permanent seat to be urgently concluded & determined by the Summit

    ………I appreciate the urgency of the matter and commit to pursuing it to its logical conclusion, Cabinet Secretary says. East African Court of Justice Nairobi, 12thApril2018:Hon Peter Gatirau Munya, Cabinet Secretary in charge of the Ministry of East African Community and Norther Corridor Development, Republic of Kenya,at the closing ceremony of EACJ Plenary, committed to […] Read Full Article

  4. Court dismisses an application by AG Rwanda seeking to strike out amended pleadings in the Union Trade Centre case

    East African Court of Justice, Arusha, 29th March 2018; As court adjourns its sessions the First Instance Division dismissed a matter (Application) filed by the Attorney General (AG) of the Republic of Rwanda (Applicant) against the Union Trade Centre (UTC)(Respondent) over the amended pleadings allegedly to have introduced a new cause of action in the […] Read Full Article

  5. Court dismisses Walk to work case due to lack of sufficient evidence

      East African Court of Justice Arusha, 28th March 2018: The First Instance Division dismissed the walk to work case filed by the East African Law Society (EALS) due to lack of sufficient evidence of the alleged acts against the Republic of Uganda (1st Respondent). Court said that the Applicant did not produce evidence to […] Read Full Article

  6. Court hears Hon Mbidde’s application to join the case challenging the election of EALA Speaker

              East African Court of Justice Arusha, 19th March 2018: The First Instance Division heard a matter (Application) filed by Hon Fred Mukasa Mbidde (the Applicant), who is a Member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA). He is seeking leave of the Court to allow him join as an intervener […] Read Full Article

  7. Court strikes out an Application seeking court to hear a case challenging the Union of Tanzania, in Zanzibar

        East African Court of Justice Arusha, 8th March 2018: The First Instance Division struck out an Application filed by one Rashid Salum Adiy and 39,999 others Zanzibar Citizens versus the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Chief Secretary of Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar and United Republic of Tanzania others. The Application was seeking Court to […] Read Full Article

  8. COURT TO LIVE STREAM A CASE FROM ZANZIBAR

    Court will live stream an Application No. 7 of 2017 (Arising from Reference No. 9 of 2016) Rashid Salum Adiy and 39,999 others Vs The Attorney General of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and others, challenging the Union of the United Republic of Tanzania. The session will be held tomorrow, 8th March 2018 at 09:30 […] Read Full Article

  9. COURT STRUCK OUT THE APPLICATION SEEKING STAY RECOGNITION OF EALA SPEAKER

      East African Court of Justice Arusha, 6th March 2018: The First Instance Division resumed its March sessions and struck out the Application filed by the Republic of Burundi, seeking Court’s order to stay recognition of the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA). The Court in its Ruling said that the Application has […] Read Full Article

  10. Judges from ECOWAS Court of Justice pay courtesy to their counterpart in EACJ

    East African Court of Justice Arusha 3nd March 2018: The Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice (ECOWAS-Court) led by the President Hon. Justice Traore Jerome, on 28th February, paid a visit to His counterpart His Lordship, Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja President EACJ. The ECOWAS Court President accompanied by other Justices came to have […] Read Full Article