Regional court to hear cases filed against EAC members in Kampala

Tuesday October 25 2022
EACJ President Justice Nestor Kayobera

EACJ President Justice Nestor Kayobera addresses journalists in Kampala on October 25, 2022 during the opening the regional media training for editors and reporters on the EACJ. PHOTO | JACKSON MUTINDA | NMG


The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) is holding the Judicial Officers Conference in Kampala this week before settling down in November to hear appeals and deliver rulings on various cases filed against East African Community (EAC) member states.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the EACJ, the Court in 2021 launched rotational November Court Sessions, with the first one held in Bujumbura between November 18 and 26 that year.

President Yoweri Museveni has been invited to the Second Annual East African Court of Justice Judicial Conference, whose theme is ‘Transforming Access to Justice in the East African Community,’ scheduled for Kampala from October 26 to 28, 2022.

Emerging legal, judicial issues

Christine Wekesa Mutimurwa, Deputy Registrar at the EACJ, said the conference is expected to hold high-level conversations on emerging legal and judicial issues including emerging jurisprudence and issues affecting courts and court users. It will also “provide a platform for information sharing among judges, judicial officers, legal practitioners and other Court users in the region”.

“The objective of rotating the court’s November sessions is to bring services closer to the people and enhance the visibility of the court as it undertakes its mandate of promoting access to justice by ensuring adherence to law in the interpretation and application and of compliance with the EAC Treaty,” Ms Mutimurwa said.


The EACJ will sit at the Commercial Court of Uganda for the entire November hearings.

Cases set for hearing

Ugandan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs Rebecca Kadaga said there are 11 cases set for hearing and five that the Court of First Instance is expected to deliver judgment on.

The EACJ mainly handles disputes arising from the violation of fundamental and operational principles that govern the community. These principles include good governance, adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality as well as recognition, promotion and protection of human and people’s rights in accordance with the African charter on Human and Peoples’ rights.

Among the 11 cases lined up for hearing is an application by jailed Ugandan lawyer Male Mabirizi and Tanzania’s human rights lawyer, Tito Magoti.

Mabirizi, a Ugandan lawyer with a reputation for strongly criticising judges and demanding the recusal of those presiding in cases where he is involved, has lost his bid to be freed from prison pending appeal. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail for contempt of court by  High Court judge Musa Ssekaana for abusive attacks in letters and on social media.

Judge Ssekaana said the abusive attacks in Mabirizi’s letters and tweets were intended to scandalise the court “and intimidate the entire judiciary in exercise of their constitutional mandate”.

Money laundering charge

Tito Magoti and his friend, Theodory Faustin Giyani, an information technology expert, were on December 19, 2019 abducted by unknown people. After several hours in which the matter was widely reported in the press and concerns expressed on social media, Tanzanian authorities confirmed that Magoti, a programme officer for mass education with the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), had been arrested together with Giyani and were in police custody. But when the two were arraigned, they were charged under the anti-money laundering laws.

Before the Kisutu Magistrate’s Court on December 24, 2019, they were charged with “organising a criminal racket” and “creating a computer programme for the purpose of committing a crime.”

The prosecution alleged the two had acquired an estimated $7,500.

The country’s anti-money laundering law denies bail to accused persons.

There are also cases involving Burundi and South Sudan.