A group of lawyers from five East African Community (EAC) member states visited the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights here over the weekend, as part of their tour of different international tribunals established in Arusha.
The visit was organized by the East African Law Society (EALS), which is an Arusha-based, umbrella body of Bar Associations of the East African region. On their arrival at the court, the visitors from Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, were received by Dr Robert Eno, the Registrar of the ACHPR, who welcomed them and led them around different offices and departments of the Court.
The young lawyers then met the President of the Court, Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo, from Ghana who in her welcoming remarks, thanked them for their interest and initiative to visit the Court and also expressed her appreciation for their shown value in international judicial systems.
Justice Akuffo told the learned friends from around the region that she will be very happy to see some of them practising before the Pan-African Court or any other international tribunals in the near future. Speaking on behalf of the East African Lawyers, the head of the delegation, Mr James Agrey, thanked the President of the Court for receiving them and congratulated her for being the first African female to be elected president of the continental court.
The visitors were then briefed by the registrar on the establishment of the Court, its mandate, jurisdiction, applicable law, functions and structure as well as challenges. The registrar also elaborated on the procedures for bringing cases and litigating before the Court.
The visitors expressed interest in the work of the Court and asked many questions, seeking information about the rate of ratification of the protocol establishing the Court and the rate of declarations allowing individuals and NGOs to directly institute cases before the Court and the enforcement of its decisions.
In the course of this week, the lawyers will also be visiting other international organizations based in Arusha, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the East African Court of Justice, the East African Legislative Assembly and the East African Community Secretariat.
By MARC NKWAME, Tanzania Daily News