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EACJ scales up sensitisation on arbitration in the partner states
Sensitisation workshops to be held in country capitals
The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has organised a series of sensitisation workshops on its arbitration jurisdiction in the capitals of the five EAC Partner States to run from 12 to 27 April 2010. The main objective of the workshops is to sensitise stakeholders on the existence of the arbitration jurisdiction of the Court with the aim of enhancing the utilisation of the same.

The workshops will run as follows:

- 12th and 13th April 2010 ? Kigali

- 15th and 16th April 2010 - Bujumbura

- 19th and 20th April 2010 ? Kampala

- 22nd and 23rd April 2010 ? Dar es Salaam

- 26th and 27th April 2010 - Nairobi

This will be Phase Two of these workshops, which have been organised in accordance with the Court’s calendar of activities for this Financial Year. Phase One of the workshops was organised and conducted between 17 April to 26 May 2009 in Kigali, Bujumbura, Kampala, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. During that period, about 150 participants, drawn from key Government Ministries, the Business Community, the Media, Bar Associations and the Judiciary were trained. Feedback from participants was encouraging with recommendations, among others, for further training on arbitration to cover a wide range of stakeholders. The workshop will be facilitated by the EACJ Judges and Staff in collaboration with the Ministries of EAC in the Partner States.

The arbitration jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice is part of the mandate of the Court under Article 32 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Pursuant to this Article, the Court has formulated Rules of Arbitration to guide it in handling arbitration matters. The Rules were gazetted in 2001.

However, despite the Court’s efforts to prepare itself to handle arbitration matters, this jurisdiction has not been utilised fully. This fact may be attributed to lack of knowledge by stakeholders of the existence of the arbitration jurisdiction under the Treaty; lack of understanding by stakeholders of the arbitration procedures; or even lack of knowledge about the Court’s existence and its mandate.

Under Article 32 of the Treaty, parties can access the Court for arbitration in any of the following situations:

When a matter arises from an arbitration clause contained in a contract or agreement to which the Community or any of its institutions is a party and which confers arbitration jurisdiction to the Court;

When there is a dispute between the EAC Partner States regarding the Treaty submitted to Court under a special agreement; and

When a matter arises from an arbitration clause contained in a commercial contract or agreement in which the parties have conferred arbitration jurisdiction to the Court.

The arbitration jurisdiction is wide as can be discerned from the provisions of the Treaty. Arbitration procedures are cheaper and flexible. Matters ranging from the Treaty provisions to commercial disputes can be submitted to Court for arbitration enabling the Court to discharge its mandate in guiding the integration process.

For further information on EACJ, please the EAC J website at http://www.eacj.org

Source: East African Community (EAC)


Burundi

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