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 Orders Tanzania Minister to Annul the Order Banning Publication of the Local Newspaper ‘Mseto’ and Allow the Newspaper Resume Publication

    The East African Court of Justice, First Instance Division on 21st June 2018 delivered Judgment in the matter between The Managing Editor Mseto & Hali Halisi Publishers Limited and the Attorney General of the United Republic of Tanzania (Reference No. 7 of 2016). It was the Applicants case that, on 4th August, 2016, Mseto published […] Read Full Article

  2. RWANDA MINISTER OF JUSTICE CONGRATULATES EACJ ON REALIZING THE OBJECTIVE OF SENSITIZING STATE ATTORNEYS

    East African Court of Justice Kigali, 20th June 2018: The Minister of Justice and Attorney General (AG) of the Republic of Rwanda who was the Chief Guest, represented by Mr Theophile Mbonea, Head of Legal services in the Office of the AG, congratulated the Court on realizing the objective of sensitizing the State Attorneys who […] Read Full Article

  3. EACJ President calls upon the stakeholders to strengthen their cooperation & relationship with the Court

    East African Court of Justice Arusha, 14th June 2018: The President of the East African Court of Justice, Hon Justice Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, while at the opening of a three days sensitization workshop for the Judges, State Attorneys and Members of the Bar Association of the Republic of Uganda on the role of the Court […] Read Full Article

  4. Court allows amendment of an Application for the Basajjabalabas seeking to restrain the government from summoning them for investigation over a Criminal case

    East African Court of Justice Arusha, 6th June 2018: As the Court resumed its sessions this week, the First Instance Division yesterday 5th June, allowed the Applicant Mr Hassan Basajjabalaba & Bassajabalaba Muzamiru (Ugandans) to amend their Application seeking Court to stop the government of Uganda from summoning them for investigation over a criminal case. […] Read Full Article

  5. COURT HOLDS THE GOVERNMENT OF BURUNDI LIABLE FOR UNLAWFUL SEIZURE OF GOODS AND AWARDS US$20,000 AS GENERAL DAMAGES

    East African Court of Justice, Arusha, Tanzania, 19th June, 2018: The East African Court of Justice, First Instance Division on 19th June 2018 delivered Judgment in the matter between Grand Lacs Suppliers S.A.R.L & Others versus the Attorney General of the Republic of Burundi (Reference No. 6 of 2016). It was the Applicants’ case that […] Read Full Article

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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