All is set at the Commercial Court building in Kampala, Uganda where the East African Court of Justice will sit for a month starting tomorrow to consider a number of cases filed with the Court by litigants across all the East African Community member states.
The Uganda Court sessions are part of the Regional Court’s rotational program of its November sessions launched in 2021 to mark its 20th Anniversary. The first of such sessions were held last year in Burundi from 8th to 26th November.
The purpose of the rotational court sessions is to “bring the services of the Court closer to the people and to enhance the visibility of the Court.”
“Last year we were in Burundi and decided this year the court will sit in Uganda. The court belongs to the people of East Africa and the court must be brought near the people,” Justice Nestor Kayobera, the president of the East African Court of Justice reportedly said while speaking to Journalists on Tuesday last week.
According to the Court’s cause list – a list of cases before a Court of law, the East African Court of Justice will hear, schedule, deliver rulings and arbitral awards in a total 40 cases.
Of these, 22 are new – being handled by the Court for the first time and 18 are appellate cases.
In a media briefing held today, Court officials said proceedings of the East African Court of Justice will be both virtual (live streamed) and physical, with the latter limited to only the parties involved in a particular case.
The East African Court of Justice is one of the organs of the East African Community established under the East African Community treaty.
As countries in the region push for integration, the East African Court of Justice is a cog in the wheel to ensure adherence to the principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, accountability, among other principles touted for the achievement of the objectives of the East African Community.
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The Court mainly handles disputes based on allegations of violation of these principles.
Originally composed of six judges drawn from the initial three members of the East African Community – Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, the regional Court presently constitutes eleven judges after Rwanda and Burundi joined.
The East African Court of Justice has two divisions – the First Instance division and the Appellate division. In the First Instance division, there are six judges – Justice B. Yohane Masara (leader of the division or Principal Judge), Dr. Charles Nyawello (Deputy Principal Judge), Justice Charles Nyachae, Justice Richard Muhumuza, Justice Richard Wabwire Wejuli and Dr. Gacuko Leonard.
While in the Appellate division, there are five Judges – Justice Nestor Kayobera (leader of the division or President of the Court), Justice Sauda Mjasiri (Vice President), Justice Anita Mugeni, Justice Kathurima M’Inoti, and Justice Cheborion Barishaki.
Benjamin is a Digital Legal News Journalist (trained by Reuters) and digital media enthusiast who founded The Legal Reports website in January, 2020 while a fourth year law student at Makerere University school of law.
Prior to that, Benjamin used to write amateur blogs and some of his legal commentaries were published by the Daily Monitor and Independent Magazine - both leading publications in Uganda. He covers lawyers, law students, judges, judiciary, courts, law schools, and law firms.