Registrar laments EACJ ‘ad hoc nature’

12Nov 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Registrar laments EACJ ‘ad hoc nature’

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has attributed its failure to dispense timely justice to the ad-hoc nature of the regional court.

Yufnalis Okubo, the Registrar of the Arusha based court, says that the court’s ad-hoc nature caused delays in disposing off matters pending for determination.

Currently the court sits for one month every quarter, and after the session the judges go back to their respective partner states where some serve in their national courts.

Therefore the fact that judges of the court are not on permanent terms creates delays in dispensing justice. This will remain the case until the summit determines that the residence of judges be at the seat of the court,” the registrar said yesterday.

Justice Okubo also highlighted that the regional court had limited funds to support activities of the court such as holding sessions in partner states, which contributes to its awareness creation.

Process had been initiated to ensure that the court and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) obtain financial autonomy, he stated.

“Through the plan we hope a breadth of activities will be established and this goes in tandem with seeking a rise in budgetary provision of the court,” he further noted.

The court seeks to add two more judges to accommodate the Republic of South Sudan that has joined the community, he elaborated

One judge will join the court’s Appellate Division while the other will be stationed at the First Instance Division, he said.

The court has introduced a case management system which will enable litigants file their cases electronically to avoid travelling costs as well as saving time.

Established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC), the court is an organ of the Community with responsibility of ensuring adherence to law in the interpretation and application of national and regional statutes and compliance with the EAC Treaty.

“Operations of the court during the transitional period are ad hoc until the Council of Ministers determines that there is enough business to make it fully operational,” the registrar underlined.

At the moment, Arusha remains the seat of the Court temporarily until the Summit determines its permanent seat, he added.