East African Court of Justice (the Court), is one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
East African Community was revived on November 30, 1999, when the Treaty for its re-establishment was signed. It came into force on 7 July 2000, 23 years after the total collapse of the defunct Community and its organs.
This followed a process of re-integration which was embarked on in 1993, and which involved tripartite programmes of co-operation in political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defense, security, legal and judicial affairs.
It is hoped that the framework provided for under the Treaty will foster regional peace and security, while providing an appropriate response for economic development and competitiveness in light of globalization of trade and transnational corporations.
The defunct East African Court of Appeal was a court of appeal from decisions of the National Courts on both civil and criminal matters except constitutional matters and the offence of treason for Tanzania. The East African Court of Justice is different in composition and jurisdiction. It is an international court unlike the defunct East African Court of Appeal which handled only appeals from national courts.
The Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the Treaty.
Following its inauguration by the Summit and the swearing in of Judges and the Registrar on 30th November 2001, the East African Court of Justice became operational. The operations of the Court during the transitional period are ad hoc until the Council of Ministers determines that there is enough business to make it full operational. This means that judges are not required to permanently reside in Arusha where the temporary seat of the Court is located but they only convene to conduct the business of the Court when the need to do so arises.