KIGALI - A two-day sensitization workshop aimed at enhancing the utilization of the arbitration jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) starts in Kigali today.
This comes after East African Community (EAC) judicial officials realized that the court’s arbitration has not been utilized possibly because of lack of knowledge by stakeholders of the existence of the arbitration jurisdiction or lack of understanding by stakeholders of the arbitration procedures.
“No one has chosen the East African Court of Justice as an arbitrator, even us in Rwanda. We think that it is because of insufficient awareness about this opportunity,” said Justice Johnston Busingye, president of the Rwandan high court and a Principal Judge at EACJ.
“Arbitration is a cheaper and faster way that even leaves parties good partners in business. We shall not get tired of sensitizing the East Africans – we shall continue in that direction until they appreciate the role of arbitration.”
Participants from key government ministries, the business community, the media, bar associations and the judiciary will be trained on arbitration issues.
Similar workshops , planned to conclude on April 27 will be conducted in other EAC capitals after the end of the Kigali session.
From April 17 to May 26 last year, phase one of sensitization workshops were conducted around member states’ capitals and the court is now organizing phase two, in accordance with its calendar of activities this year.
Last year’s session dwelt on defining arbitration; its historical development; and how it is done under the EAC Treaty.
The Kigali meeting had made several recommendations, including that; instead of EACJ judges playing the role of arbitrators, a panel of trained arbitrators be established; and that EACJ arbitration rules be amended to include more languages as official languages for the court.
The EACJ is a treaty-based judicial organ of the EAC tasked to ensure adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the East African Treaty of 1999.