Commercial court Judge Clotilde Mukamurera has been elected to serve as a judge in the Court of Justice of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
Mukamurera was elected to the position after garnering 13 of the 15 cast votes at the just concluded meeting of Comesa Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General in Khartoum, Sudan.
Mukamurera is a judge at the commercial high court where she will continue serving as her role at the regional court is on a need basis.
She is expected to be sworn in during the Comesa Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the end of this month.
Judge Mukamurera brings to the regional bench close to 15 years of experience.
She began her judiciary career in 2000 as a Judge at Gisenyi Intermediate Court and later Vice President of the Rusizi Intermediate Court.
The 44-year-old is a graduate of the University of Rwanda and also holds a LLM degree in Business law from University of Cape Town in South Africa. She has also trained in banking, procurement, arbitration, leasing and intellectual property. Mukamurera has served as a member of the High Council of the Judiciary since 2008.
Speaking from the just concluded forum, Minister of Justice Johnston Busingye, told The New Times that Mukamurera will be a fitting representation of the country after Chief Justice Sam Rugege whose term at the regional court ends in June this year.
"Judge Mukamurera is a brilliant young Judge and will be a fitting continuation from CJ Sam Rugege at the Court," the Minister said.
Rugege has served as the Principal Judge in the Comesa court since 2005 and his term ends in June. A Zimbabwean judge takes over his position.
Busingye added: "I am happy she is elected, but, over and above me , her election is about our country. So Rwanda is proud she is elected."
Mukamurera’s boss at the commercial court also spoke highly of her.
“Her candidature for the position must have come as a result of her good reputation at work,” said Emmanuel Kamere, the president of the Commercial High Court. He described her as an exemplary judge.
From a humble background in Nyamagabe, in the Southern Province, Mukamurera joined Ecole Sociale de Karubanda (secondary school) after which she joined Law School at the University of Rwanda.
Chief Justice Rugege said that among her roles as a judge of the court will be to deal with matters of integration and any trade disputes that might arise between people doing business in the 18 member state region.
“For someone to be elected to the position, they not only have to be a commercial court judge, it is important that they have experience in dealing with commercial disputes and cases,” Rugege said.
The Chief Justice added that she will also take part in the interpretation of the Comesa treaty and ensure it is respected by member states.
Other roles will be to ensure that member countries do not pass laws that might hinder integration or trade in the region.
The Comesa court that sits in Khartoum, Sudan comprises a 5-judge Appeals chamber and seven judges sit in the court of first instance.