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 an exchange on the practices of the EACJ.

His Lordship Justice Ugirashebuja welcomed the delegation and briefed them on the mandate, Jurisdiction and other operations of the Court (EACJ). In his remarks he commended the ECOWAS Court President and his delegation for visiting the Court and assured that they will learn a lot from each other as the sister regional Court.

The President further told the ECOWAS Court delegation that, it is an opportunity to share information and experiences as judicial bodies as well as new developments which will benefit both Regions in advancing the integration agendas through dispute settlement and ensuring adherence to Justice.

He informed the delegation on the achievements of the Court, where the Court has so far handled over 200 cases and it receives 40 cases on average every year. President also stressed that the court has received new arbitration matters which indicates that the citizens have started realizing the underutilized jurisdiction of the Court.

He also informed the ECOWAS Court delegation, that four years ago, the Court established the Sub-registries in all Partner States which has improved access of the Court to the litigants and other stakeholders who are the Court users. Justice Ugirashebuja added that, a number of cases have been filed through these sub-registries hence cost reduction for the litigants not to travel to Arusha for filing and other process before the cases are scheduled for hearing.

The EACJ President also pointed out that the Court has advanced in technology by developing the Case Management system which has improved the filing of cases online. He said the sub-registries in the Partner States have started using and very soon the court will introduce the system to the Lawyers and other litigants so that they can be trained on how to use system to file their cases online.

Justice Ugirashebuja told the delegation that, the Court was granted the Finance and Administration Autonomy by the Council of Minister and the Bill on the same was passed by East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) which is in the process of accent to by the Heads of State. He emphasized that if the Financial and Administration Autonomy is effective, it will support the smooth running of business of the Court.

Justice Ugirashebuja further briefed the delegation on the major challenges that the Court faces which include; EACJ Judges serving on ad-hoc nature. He said that the Judges only come to Arusha when there Court sessions or for any other business. He added that due to ad-hoc services of the Judges, a number of cases have been delayed to be determined because some of the Judges serve in their national courts. He also pointed out the capacity of some lawyers who represent the Litigants in court, that they have limited experience and knowledge on regional laws on East African Treaty and Protocols.

President Ugirashebuja also explained to the delegation, the relationship of this Court with the National Courts, whereby the national Courts under the Treaty Provisions, can refer any matter Preliminary References/ Case stated) regarding the Treaty or the Protocols for the Establishment of the East African Community to this Court for interpretation. He said that the Court has so far handled two matters of the kind.

On his part the President of ECOWAS Court of Justice, His Lordship Justice Traore Jerome commended his counterpart the EACJ President and his team, for the great opportunity to share their experience and information with them, which will benefit the judicial work and development of the ECOWAS Court. He expressed his gratitude and pledged to recommend in their report to strengthen the collaboration between ECOWAS Court and EACJ Court. The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice delegation was on the working tour from 26th February- 3rd March 2018, at the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Notice for the editors:

Brief on Case Management System

The case management system developed as an engine to facilitate the court’s procedures and processes. The system currently can perform the processes of the court from first to last stage as expected. Custom built in alignment to the court’s rules of procedure, the system runs just as the traditional processes would. It documents, records and audits each stage of the case in the Court. Developed with the capability of e-filing, this system in the future will give stakeholders capabilities to interact with the court system and file cases at their desks from any location.

Court Recording System

Provided by Jefferson’s Audio and Visio systems (JAVS), and responsible for video and audio court recording, JAVS has fitted the court with both a software and hardware outfit that makes it possible for the court to record its sessions as they proceed and also give the capabilities to live stream sessions as they are going on. This system also built in integration with the case management system to have the cases synchronized with their respective MPEG sessions for reference reasons. This marriage between these systems propels the court to a world class court pushing the boundaries the court to a world class technological platform.

The system was launched by the EAC Heads of State on 30th April 2014 at the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the East African Community in Arusha, Tanzania.

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. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility 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 respective National Courts in the Partner States.

For more information please contact:
Yufnalis Okubo, Registrar, East African Court of Justice. Tel: 255-27-2162149
Email Okubo@eachq.org
East African Court of Justice
Arusha, Tanzania

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