KIGALI - The Registrar of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Dr John Ruhangisa, has underscored the need for expansion of the court’s jurisdiction to enable it fulfil its mandate.
The court is one of the organs of the East African Community (EAC) established under Article 9 of the treaty that establishes the regional bloc.
“The limited jurisdiction of the court is a crippling challenge and the jurisdiction should be extended as envisaged under Article 27(2) of the Treaty,” Ruhangisa told reporters.
In order for East Africans to easily access the court, Ruhangisa advised that sub-registries be established in the partner states besides reviewing the filing fee for court cases.
The court has successfully tried 35 cases with nine currently before it.
On the challenge of public awareness to East Africans, Ruhangisa said; “this is due to lack of sufficient publicity of the court and its uniqueness.”
Highlighting achievements of the court, Ruhangisa cited one significant case handled by the court; that of Kenyan Minister of Medical Services Anyang’ Nyong’o & others vs Attorney General of Kenya & others (reference No1 of 2006).
“The main contention in this reference was whether Kenya’s process of electing the nine persons deemed to be its EALA members and the rules of Kenya National Assembly for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) elections infringed Article 50 of the Treaty,”
Ruhangisa said that there are fresh cases filed awaiting the court’s response and in some, the parties are still exchanging pleadings while others have been fixed for hearing soon.