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Why Kenya wants East Africa Court of Justice moved from Arusha to Nairobi

Kenya wants to become the permanent seat of the East Africa Court of Justice, which currently holds its sittings in Arusha, Tanzania.

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki on Thursday said the move was part of the integration process for the mutual benefit of all citizens and the development of the region.

Currently only the President and Registrar are based at the court with all other judges serving only on a needs basis.

The judges are also serving within their different member state jurisdictions, a move that is expensive and not sustainable.

Mr Kariuki made the revelations when he received the President of the East Africa Court of Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja.

Supporting the sentiments, Justice Ugirashebuja said time has come for the court to have a permanent home since all its operations are now fully on course. He said Nairobi as the regional hub would be ideal for the court.

Justice Ugirashebuja, a Rwandan citizen, is the fourth President of the Court. He was appointed Judge of Appeal by the Summit of the EAC Heads of State in November 2013 and the President the following year.

TEMPORARY SEAT

The court has eleven Judges, five of the Appellate Division and six judges of the first instance.

Justice Ugirashebuja is in the country to seek Kenya’s support in amending two sections of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. The treaties will enable the establishment of the permanent seat of the EACJ and securing the security of tenure for judges.

The Treaty established Arusha as the temporary seat of the Court since 2001 until such a time when its functions would be operational. It is proposed that all judges of the court serve on a permanent basis as a means of strengthening the institution.

Kenya has two judges who are currently serving the court, Justice Aaron Ringera (Appellate Division) and Justice Isaac Lenaola (First instance). Mr Charles Nyachae, whose name was recently forwarded by President Kenyatta for appointment, will take over from Justice Lenaola on 1 July.

Mr Kariuki said a summit of Attorney Generals and Ministers of Justice of the member state countries, will be held in June, where these matters will be deliberated.

Justice Ugirashebuja was accompanied by the Registrar of the Court, Mr Yufnalis Okubo.