Monday, August 2, 2010

East African Court of Justice launches 5-year Strategic Plan

ARUSHA, Tanzania, August 2, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) today launched its Strategic Plan for 2010-2015. Honourable Justice Augustino Ramadhani, the Chief Justice of the United Republic of Tanzania, presided over the launch ceremony, held at the Kibo Palace Hotel in Arusha.

The Strategic Plan outlines four strategic issues namely; the design of the Court under the Treaty; its appreciation in the region; its visibility; and its capacity. The publication sets key objectives based on these issues and presents an overall strategy for the next five years that includes initiating consultations with the relevant EAC organs and other stakeholders so that the ad hoc nature of the Court is reviewed; establishing/opening sub-registries in the Partner States and holding Court Sessions in the Partner States as a matter of policy, among others.

The chief guest, Hon. Justice Augustino Ramadhani, was full of admiration for the Court’s achievement. He praised the Strategic Plan as “an excellent document of self asserting”. And alluding to legal proceedings, he told EACJ Judges in attendance: “The Strategic Plan, my Lords, is your pleadings”.

The Hon. Chief Justice, however, also offered words of caution: “The Strategic Plan is not self-executing. You have to find means of enforcing it and that is the challenge”.

In his remarks, Hon. Justice Harold Nsekela, the Court President of the EACJ described the launching of the Strategic Plan as timely, since it comes in the wake of the recent commencement of the EAC Common Market, which is expected to further stimulate trade and economic activity within the region.

Against this background, he said it was necessary for the Court to address the strategic issues facing it if it is to fulfil its mandate as stipulated in the Treaty. But Hon. Justice Nsekela also called on Partner States to make the Court fully operational by extending its jurisdiction and enhancing its capacity in order for it to fully discharge its mandate.

“It would be self-defeating for the EAC to fast track the integration agenda and fail to have in place a trusted dispute resolution mechanism,” the Court President noted.

“The capacity of the Court needs to be strengthened and its jurisdiction enhanced in order to have in place a judicial mechanism that supports and promotes market fairness, freedoms and rights in the region,” the Hon. Justice Nsekela emphasised.

Dr. Julius Rotich, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration welcomed the Strategic Plan and reiterated the important role the Court has to play in fostering regional integration. He pledged the EAC Secretariat’s full support to the Court in implementing the Plan.

According to Court Registrar Dr John Ruhangisa, the newly launched Strategic Plan is the product of a participatory process which started in November 2009 and concluded in February this year.

The Registrar reaffirmed the Court’s determination to see to it that it becomes a well-designed tool of justice that will address most of the legal challenges emanating from a wider and deeper integration of the Community.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

East African Court of Justice

The East African Court of Justice (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.

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 High Courts of the Partner States serve as sub-registries.

For details visit http://www.eacj.org

The Strategic Plan

The process to create the Strategic Plan involved a five-day retreat involving EACJ Judges and Court staff who met under the guidance of Professor Evans Aosa (consultant). The retreat which was held in Moshi was followed by a conclusive workshop at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, Arusha.

The Court’s five-year Strategic Plan will be incorporated in the EAC’s five-year Development Strategy. The Strategic Plan is part of the efforts that the Court has made to define its own specific integral role in the EAC integration process as it prepares itself to become an active key player.

SOURCE: East African Community (EAC)