On 25 October 2022, over forty EAC Partner States media editors and reporters were briefed on the role of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). The tailor-made training was convened by the East African Court of Justice in collaboration with the East Africa Community Secretariat’s Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Department with support from German Development Cooperation via the GIZ Support to East African Integration (SEAMPEC II) Programme. The training aimed to familiarize media with the court's mandate in order for EAC citizens to be made aware of opportunities the court offers to them. The journalists represented the EAC Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The training was delivered by EACJ in collaboration with the African Law Practice and the East African newspaper. Key topics presented focused on the role of the court in the regional integration process, the evolving jurisprudence of the court over the last 20 years and its pivotal position for access to justice in the region. Lastly, it also debated the role of the media in promoting access to justice, challenges encountered and opportunities for collaboration between media and EACJ.
In his opening remarks, His Lordship, the President of the East African Court of Justice, Hon. Nestor Kayobera, emphasized on the importance of awareness creation of the media on the mandate of the regional court. He noted that the media editors and reporters were the key stakeholders in conveying the messages to the citizens using the various channels and platform at their disposal.
Mrs. Joyce Kevin Abalo-Kimaro, GIZ Senior Economic Advisor, applauded EACJ for initiating the media training. She noted the importance of the media in creating awareness for citizens on the EAC integration process as they reach wide populations in all EAC Partner States. She urged the editors and reporters to communicate relevant information regularly and proactively on EACJ’s mandate, activities and contribution to EAC integration to stimulate a more active engagement between citizens and the court.
The media participants highlighted an existing lack of requisite skills to cover the rulings and judgements of the court since they would not yet fully grasp its jurisprudence and in turn be able report it accurately to the citizens. They also discussed the possibility of attending the court session or online-screening of sessions to be able to report on the same. Furthermore, journalists recommended to the EACJ to become an active news maker by availing itself in the various media platforms such as via press conferences, an e-newsletter, radio, and TV talk shows to address citizens on the various issues of access to justice, human rights, and good governance in East Africa. The media representatives indicated their interest to work with EACJ to create awareness on joint matters of public interest for example the closure of borders.
The 2nd Annual East African Court of Justice Judicial Conference was convened by the East African Court of Justice from the 26 to 28 October 2022 to offset conversations to strengthen the capacities of judges, judicial officers, and court users in responding to various challenges that justice seekers face whilst seeking justice on various matters as well as identifying emerging areas of interest for national and regional Judiciaries.
SEAMPEC II implements together with the EAC Secretariat on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It aims to improve framework conditions for regional and continental trade. Furthermore, it works with the EAC Secretariat in capacity development and visibility measures to implement the 6th EAC Development Strategy.
Find more information about SEAMPEC II here.