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East-Africa

Italian Ambassador To Congo Killed In Attack

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Italian ambassador to DR Congo has died from hospital after an attack on UN convoy in the east of the country, local authorities said. Two more people died in the attack.

The convoy was attacked near the town of Kanyamahoro at around 10:15 a.m. (0815 GMT) and was part of a kidnap attempt, the Virunga National Park told Reuters.

The identity of the two people who were killed was not immediately clear. The Italian ambassador was evacuated after park rangers intervened, the park said.

Many armed groups operate in and around Virunga, which lies along Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, and they have repeatedly attacked Virunga rangers.

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East-Africa

Sudan’s Prime Minister, UN’s DiCarlo Discuss Ethiopia’s Giant Dam

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Sudan’s prime minister and the visiting UN political and peacebuilding affairs chief discussed the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement and the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Abdallah Hamdok on Wednesday received Rosemary DiCarlo who has just concluded a visit to Addis Ababa for talks on the situation in Tigray and the GERD crisis with Ethiopian officials.

“The meeting discussed the challenges facing the transitional government, especially, the democratic transition and the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement,” read a statement issued by the Hamdok cabinet after the meeting.

For her part, DiCarlo tweeted she had a ’fruitful’ meeting with Hamdok and reaffirmed that UN and UNITAMS “remain fully committed to supporting the Sudanese transition to democracy, including the completion and implementation of the peace process”.

The democratic transition in Sudan is facing several challenges particularly the peace process as the government is facing difficulties to provide the money needed to implement the security arrangements and to return the displaced people and refugees.

According to the statement, DiCarlo reiterated the UN support for the democratic transition in Sudan and stressed the need to disarm and integrate Sudanese armed groups returning from Libya.

Almost all the armed groups in Darfur were involved in the civil war in neighbouring Libya where the international community is struggling to evacuate foreign armed groups and mercenaries before general elections in December 2021.

GERD

On the giant hydropower dam, Hamdok underscored that Sudan supports the Ethiopian project but wants a legally binding agreement on its filling and operation to protect its interests.

DiCarlo said that “The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will provide technical support (for the settlement) to the Renaissance Dam’s issue,” reported the cabinet.

The UN political official had discussed the GERD issue with the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen during a meeting on 27 July.

The Ethiopian foreign ministry said Mekonnen “noted that unnecessary politicization and Internationalization of the matter would contribute nothing but drag the negotiation process”.

Ethiopia rejects the involvement of the United Nations in the regional dispute and indicates its willingness for the efforts led by the African Union.

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East-Africa

EAC A Pillar Of Cross-border Codes of Justice

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Lady Justice Martha Koome, the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya has stated that the chords of the East African Union have indeed led to the formation of enduring and instrumental institutions of justice and Governance.

“The East Africa Court of Justice is a pivotal institutional pillar of this collaboration and a carrier of our cross-border codes of justice,” she said.

Her Ladyship asserted that “As a Court, you take the regional lead as a vehicle for realising good governance and the rule of law in the EAC region. The jurisprudence you have built over the years on adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice cannot go unnoticed,” said Lady Justice Koome.

Making her closing remarks during the EACJ meeting on validation of Strategic Plan, she noted that the cooperation between Kenya national Judiciaries must be up-scaled and not limited to hosting of the sub registry at the Milimani commercial courts.

“I wish to see more tangible cooperation in judicial matters like joint trainings and colloquia. The principles of rule of law and good governance are very important to consumers of our services and the full achievement of economic integration in our region.” said the Chief Justice.

Lady Justice Koome further added, “I have noted that the Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community (EAC) makes provision for cooperation with national judiciaries under Article 33 and 34.

Article 33 provides “Except where jurisdiction is conferred on the Court by this Treaty, disputes to which the Community is a party shall not on that ground alone, be excluded from the jurisdiction of the national courts of the Partner States”.

Since national courts can also determine cases touching on the Treaty, that calls for training of national Judges on matters of the Treaty.

“As the Kenyan judiciary engages in the quest to develop the social justice jurisprudence decreed by our transformative Constitution, we can gain illuminating insights from the progressive jurisprudence developed by the EACJ and the cross-fertilized jurisprudence that we develop can also enrich the EACJ’s jurisprudence and the decisions by our sister courts in other Partner States.

On his part the Judge President East African Court of Justice Hon Justice Nestor Kayobera noted that during the Training of Judges on Good governance and Rule of Law in East African Community, a number of issues were identified and these include; the two (2) moths time limitation requirement to file a case before the EACJ.

“It has been realized that a number of reasonable cases have been dismissed on grounds of time barred and this requires amendment of the Treaty of EAC to extend time to give litigants enough time to lodge their cases appropriately,” stated His Lordship.

He also pointed out the emerging concerns on Article 30 of the Treaty which allows a Legal or natural person to litigate before EACJ, which provides that “…..any person who is a resident in a Partner State may refer a matter for determination by the Court on the legality of any act, regulation, directive, decision by a Partner State or an Institution of the Community on ground that such act, regulation, directive, decision is an unlawful or an infringement of the Treaty”.

The Court has noted that this article limits East Africans who are citizens but residing outside East Africa and therefore there is need to amend the Treaty to accommodate all citizens of East Africa regardless of their residence, since a number of litigants filing cases in EACJ are legal and natural persons.

Justice Kayobera urged the national Courts as part of the enforcement actors on the good governance and rule of law in the Partner States to continue supporting the EAC Integration process by exercising the jurisdiction of the national courts under Article 33 of the Treaty as well as referring matters on interpretation and application of the Treaty to EACJ for preliminary rulings under Article 34 of the EAC Treaty.

“Everyone is entitled to justice and therefore it’s our duty to protect the rights of the people of East Africa and access to the Court is fundamental.” Said Judge President.

He called upon the Government of Kenya for support in continuing raising the jurisprudence of the Court in the region, protecting its independence and resolving several challenges that affect its operations including the ad-hoc nature of the services of the Judges, financial constraints among others, all that hinder timely justice delivery.

His Lordship Justice Kayobera, commended the recent request received by the Court from the Government of South Sudan to settle a case through mediation as one of the dispute resolution mechanism the Court provides.

This is a sign that Member States have appreciated other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to reduce on the costs involved in public litigation process.

“It is incumbent on all of us in the profession of international law, whether we are judges, government advisors, scholars or practitioners, to strengthen and promote the various means for settling disputes peacefully. As Judges of the East African Court of Justice, we will always be mindful of this responsibility,” remarked Judge President.

He concluded by informing the Chief Justice that her being the Chair of the Chief Justices’ forum, the Court has no doubt will find her full support in harmonizing a number of judicial issues across the region to enable the fundamental principles of the Community are achieved.

Justice Kayobera commended Lady Justice Koome for accepting to host the next meeting of the Chief Justices’ Forum which is scheduled to take place December 2021 here in Nairobi, Kenya.

In attendance were the EACJ Vice President Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire and other Judges of the Court and staff.

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Business

EABC Negotiates Total Removal of Trade Barriers

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Rwandan John Bosco Kalisa the new Executive Director of the East African Business Council (EABC) has said there are ongoing negotiations with bloc member states aimed at total removal of trade barriers.

According to Kalisa’s argument, authorised economic operators in the EAC region are entitled to benefits such as recognition as low risk and faster clearance procedures with regional customs.

Appointed almost four weeks ago, the incoming captain of the regional business body, also says negotiations are ongoing with partner states to ensure complete removal of pending of technical and non trade barriers with an eye on boosting regional industrialisation agenda.

After his appointment, Kalisa was expected to spearhead resource mobilization and high-level advocacy at the Heads of State and Ministerial level to push forward the EABC’s purpose and vision of a borderless East Africa for increased business and investment.

Kalisa has extensive knowledge in global trade negotiations and deep networks with international development partners including USAID, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) African Development Bank and World Bank, Trademark East Africa, among others.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Kalisa served as the Country Director of South Sudan for TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

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