EACJ suspends sessions as severe funding crisis hits

Tuesday May 28 2024

Christine Mutimura-Wekesa, deputy registrar of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). PHOTO | POOL


The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has cancelled its court sessions for June, which were to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, citing a lack of funds.

In a statement Monday, the court said that cases before the Appellate Division that were to be conducted in May did not take place as well.

“The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) deeply regrets to inform its esteemed stakeholders, particularly litigants and the general public, that there will be no scheduled session of the First Instance Division in June 2024,” it said, attributing it to “delayed remittances from the partner states”.

The EACJ hears cases on violations of the rule of law, one of the fundamental and operational principles set out in the East African Community Treaty. 

Established in 1999 and headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, the court hears cases from all member states -- the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Somalia.

The regional court is convened quarterly, in March, June, September, and November for the First Instance Division and in February, May, August, and November for the Appellate Division.


However, operational and financial problems continue to bog it down, leading to a backlog of cases.

Read: EACJ vice registrar: ‘Our judges are overwhelmed, budget inadequate’

The funding crisis has significantly impeded its primary function to hear and adjudicate cases before it, the court said.

“There has been a notable increase in the backlog of cases, with over 200 currently awaiting resolution before the EACJ.” 

“The court urgently appeals to all partner states to acknowledge the gravity of the present situation and to ensure the timely remittance of funds to facilitate the smooth functioning of the court and uphold effective justice delivery.”

The EACJ does not have a budget of its own and lacks the autonomy to run and manage its own affairs. Delayed remittance of the annual contributions has left the EAC struggling to run its operations, forcing overreliance on donor funding.

Read: Uganda, Burundi delay protocol to give EACJ teeth