ARUSHA - The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Juma Mwapachu, has said that the request by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) cannot be applied in a court whose sole role is to handle the regional bloc’s affairs.
The ICTR Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow on Monday proposed to have the EAC treaty amended to enable the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) handle the tribunal’s remaining trial cases.
“That would give us a problem because the role of the East African Court of Justice is defined within the parameters of the EAC, so its jurisdiction is within the treaty and pronouncing itself on matters within the treaty,” Mwapachu told The New Times in an interview.
“If it’s anything serious, it would mean amending the treaty, you cannot do it as just a by-the-way thing,” he added.
According to EAC procedures, the proposal will be put before the EAC secretariat, and thereafter it will be reviewed through different meetings by partner states before its presentation to the Council of Ministers.
Mwapachu also hinted on the issue of formation of an EAC joint standby force and said that delegates at the three-day Peace and Security conference had unanimously agreed that a joint army is important in quelling conflicts and disasters.
He however added that the EAC had been mandated by the five heads of state summit to come up with an appropriate name for the force.
The EAC chief also said that the regional bloc is currently facing difficult funding problems, adding that 40 percent of its budget depends on donors.
Germany is one of the leading donor partners of the EAC with the country funding several integration activities as well as the construction of the EAC headquarters where it has injected close to 15million Euros.
Mwapachu added the EAC Heads of State had also asked the secretariat to put in place robust resource mobilization mechanisms that would see less dependence on foreign aid.
Meanwhile, Burundian officials yesterday lashed out at the EAC secretariat for neglecting their request to make French an official language of the community.
They claimed the issue of language barriers was seriously affecting their negotiations in different meetings they hold with their regional counterparts.