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‘East African court redundant’

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th May 2009 03:00 AM

Uganda is the only East African Community member state that has agreed to use the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to arbitrate cases.

Uganda is the only East African Community member state that has agreed to use the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to arbitrate cases.

By Anne Mugisa

Uganda is the only East African Community member state that has agreed to use the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to arbitrate cases.

The registrar of the court, Dr. John Ruhangisa, regretted that the other member states preferred going to France or London for arbitration, instead of utilising the free services of the regional court.

The court has 10 Judges. Three of them; Justice Joseph Mulenga, Justice James Ogoola and Justice Stella Arach Amoko, are Ugandan.

Speaking at a two-day workshop at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, Ruhangisa commended Uganda for asking the Rift Valley Railways (RVR), the South African company that took over the Uganda Railways, to go to the east African court for arbitration in case of disagreement.

He said an arbitration clause was included in the agreement between Uganda and RVR.

“We look forward to lawyers in the region advising their clients to use the court,” Ruhangisa said.

He explained that the court had many advantages in arbitrating cases.

Ruhangisa said the court, which came into existence in 2001, had trained the judges to handle disputes.

The first judges of the court, he explained, attained retirement age without trying a single case.

Ogoola, the Principal Judge in Uganda, said the court could be used by the municipal courts.

He said the court could act like the region’s Constitutional Court to interpret issues on the EAC Treaty.

Ogoola explained that the court could give direction on how the national courts should handle cases.

The judges refused to comment on the dispute between Uganda and Kenya over Migingo Island.

They also refused to say if the dispute should be taken to the court.

They said that the initiative to take the matter to the court cannot come from the judges, but the parties concerned.

‘East African court redundant’

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