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East African Community: EACJ to Establish Sub-Registry Offices in Member States

(Aug. 14, 2012)

On August 7, 2012, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) announced plans to set up sub-registry offices in each of the countries of the East African Community, starting with Rwanda. (East African Court of Justice to Set Up Sub-Registries in Member States, PANA ONLINE (Aug. 8, 2012), World News Connection online, subscription database, Doc. No. 201208081477.1_1d3e0040878b025a.) The Court was created in November 2001 and is one of the organs of the East African Community, a regional organization established by Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda; the Court has its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. (About the Court, East African Court of Justice; Home, EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY (both last visited Aug. 13, 2012).)

Any person in a member nation of the East African Community may refer any law, directive, or decision of a partner nation or of a Community institution to the EACJ for review, on grounds that the action or legislation involved is unlawful or inconsistent with the treaty on which the Community is based. The Court's decisions on interpreting and applying the treaty supersede rulings from national courts on the same matters. In addition, the Court has arbitration jurisdiction. (Press Release, East African Community, EACJ to Launch Sub-Registry in Kigali 10 August (Aug. 7, 2012); Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community (Nov. 30, 1999), available at WIPO RESOURCES.)

The purpose of establishing the new offices is to enable litigants to file claims without traveling to Arusha. “Instead, claims will be filed at an EACJ local sub-registry, which will handle the necessary transmission and communication details,” according to EACJ Registrar John Eudes Ruhangisa. (East African Court of Justice to Set Up Sub-Registries in Member States, supra.) The Rwandan sub-registry, located in the capital city of Kigali, will have a full-time clerk and will work with the Ministry of East African Community Affairs in Rwanda. (Id.)