The Chief Justices of Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda (partner states of the East African Community) as well as the Chief Justice of Zanzibar, the Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, and the Chief Justice of Somalia in an observer role, pledged to enhance collaboration, agree strategies to improve access to justice, and increase linkages between national judiciaries and the East African Court of Justice.
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which underscores the importance of justice for peaceful and inclusive societies, lays out the importance of an independent and efficient judiciary to deliver justice to citizens. Thanks to recent institutional reforms, the judiciaries of East Africa have taken on an increasingly assertive role and have seen an improvement in the discharge of their mandates. Yet they continue to be hampered by obstacles that limit access to justice within the region.
“The Judiciaries in East Africa recognize the critical role they play in regional integration and promotion of peace and stability, and the Chief Justices’ Forum is a platform to strengthen cooperation and deepen rule of law reforms,” said Romualdo Mavedzenge, IDLO’s Regional Manager for New Initiatives in Africa.
During a consultative forum in Nairobi, supported by IDLO, participants discussed topics including recent developments and innovations in administering justice in their respective countries, mechanisms to strengthen linkages between formal and informal systems for better access to justice, and the role of judicial independence in securing public trust and confidence in the courts.
They also considered options for increased regional integration and structural and operational elements of a revived East African Chief Justices’ Forum. The idea of establishing a regular and structured forum for Chief Justices in East Africa builds on previous initiatives and is inspired by the Southern African Chief Justices Forum, which currently presents one of the best examples of regional engagement amongst judiciaries in Africa.
A core pillar of IDLO’s work focuses on strengthening the capacity and integrity of institutions to deliver justice and uphold people’s rights. Its Africa Initiative, launched at a continental conference organized by IDLO in Dar es Salaam in June 2016, further seeks to foster the rule of law and development by supporting regional networks and partnerships.
Download the communiqué outlining the collaborative measures that was signed at the forum in Nairobi on May 10 and 11, 2018: https://www.judiciary.go.ke/download/communique-of-the-east-african-community-chief-justices-forum/