The East African Community Heads of State Summit has appointed the former Dean of Faculty of Law at the National University of Rwanda, Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, the new president of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).
Ugirashebuja replaces Justice Harold Nsekela, a Tanzanian national who had been at the helm of the regional court for seven years.
Justice Ugirashebuja was last year appointed a Judge at Appellate Division at the Arusha-based court.
The EACJ is one of the organs of the East African Community (EAC).
The Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.
The Court also has jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes between the Community and its employees arising from the terms and conditions of employment or the interpretation and application of the staff rules and regulations.
The Summit yesterday also appointed Justice Liboire Nkurunziza, from Burundi the new vice-president of the Court, replacing Justice Philip Kiptoo Tunoi, a Kenyan national whose term of office expires in June.
The new leaders have a task to advocate for the extension of Court’s jurisdiction to handle international criminal cases.
The issue of amending the EAC Treaty to broaden the court’s jurisdiction is being discussed at the regional ministerial level.
Ugirashebuja was a constitutional law and human rights lecturer at the former National University of Rwanda, now University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Humanities.
He has LL.B, LL.M from the former National University of Rwanda and a PhD from the University of Edinburg in United Kingdom.
He is a vastly experienced lawyer with a solid academic background. He has vast knowledge on both the civil law and common law traditions, East African law, International law, international Economic law and environmental law.
He served on a regional team of experts on East African Integration. He has also served as an arbitrator and mediator in several cases.
Ugirashebuja also previously served as a legal advisor for the Rwandan Constitution Commission, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema), among others.