The new Deputy Registrar at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Ms. Christine Mutimura-Wekesa, a Rwandan lawyer, has formally assumed office.
Ms. Wekesa took the Judicial Oath during a special session of the Court held at the EACJ Appellate Division Courtroom at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha with the Judge President of the EACJ, Justice Nestor Kayobera, presiding assisted by other Judges.
Administering the judicial oath on behalf of the Counsel to the Community was the Principal Legal Officer at the EAC Secretariat, Mr. Michel Ndayikengerukiye.
Before her new appointment, Ms. Mutimura previously served in the EAC Secretariat as Senior Legal Officer of the Counsel to the Community, the principal legal adviser to the Community.
Article 45(1) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC creates the position of the Registrar of the Court to be appointed by the Council of Ministers “from among citizens of the Partner States qualified to hold such high judicial office in their respective Partner States.”
Rule 8(2) of the EACJ Rules of Procedure allows the Registrar to delegate his functions to a Deputy Registrar.
The primary role of the Registrar is to perform judicial functions in addition to administrative functions.
The position of the Registrar of the Court is currently vacant after the previous occupant, His Worship Yufnalis Okubo, retired from the position on 31st March, 2022 after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 60 years. The recruitment process for the Registrar is currently underway.
Speaking after the Deputy Registrar had been sworn in, the EACJ Judge President, Justice Kayobera, welcomed Ms. Mutimura to the Court, which he said had grown from humble beginnings since its establishment in 2001.
Justice Kayobera informed the Deputy Registrar that the Court shall be guided by three principles, namely: teamwork, good faith and judicial diplomacy, and urged her to execute her duties with integrity and fairness.
The Judge President said that the Court would uphold its independence while serving East Africans by ensuring adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.
In his remarks, the East African Legislative Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga, hailed Ms. Mutimura on her new appointment saying that she would perform well due to her vast experience in both the public and private sectors in the region.
In remarks read on his behalf by the Director of Human Resources and Administration at the EAC Secretariat, Mrs. Ruth Simba, EAC Secretary General Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, said that there would not have been a better candidate for EACJ Deputy Registrar than Ms. Mutimura, who he said was familiar with the Treaty as well as EAC systems and procedures including those of the Court.
“She also has the institutional memory of the EAC Legal and Judicial Affairs, having represented the Community before the Court,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Also present at the session were the EACJ Vice President, Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Principal Judge Justice Yohana Masara, and Judges Justice Kathurima M’Inoti, Justice Sauda Mjasiri and Justice Anita Mugeni.
Others present were retired EACJ Judge, Justice Edward Rutakangwa, regional bar association members led by East African Law Society (EALS) CEO David Sigano and Pan-African Lawyers Union (PALU) CEO Donald Deya, and staff from EAC Organs based in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Deputy Registrar’s family was also in attendance led by her husband, Capt. Dennis Wekesa.
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.(End).