The East African Community Confederation of Constitutional
experts led by former Ugandan Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki has today interfaced with
the Judiciary of Uganda soliciting their views on what they want considered in
the regional constitution.
The Confederation put in place in 2018 is currently moving
within the region to get people's views before they draft the Constitution for
the East African member states and once that draft is done, it will be
submitted in form of a bill to the Heads of States for approval.
But while in consultation meeting held at Judiciary
headquarters in Kampala, the Acting Chief Justice Richard Buteera proposed a
number of issues including the need to put in place the regional court of
appeal to improve on access to justice.
According to Buteera, once there is a regional court of
appeal people will be able to access such courts in case they are not satisfied
with the decision of the local courts.
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But Odoki says that the courts will have to be strengthened
further so as to promote integration in terms of rule of law of integration.
//Cue in: “The East African…
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At the same meeting, Supreme Court Justice Mike Chibita
pointed out that if the regional Constitution is to be effective, there must be
harmonization of the laws from all the member states for uniformity purposes.
For instance, Chibita said that in some East African countries
like Uganda, there is still a death penalty for cases like defilement while
others have since outlawed the death penalty.
He insists that the penal codes of the various countries
have to be harmonized for purposes of uniformity.
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The meeting that had experts including the former Attorney
General of Kenya Amos Wako also discussed law as an enabler of free movement of political asylum seekers because at the moment, someone may flee a country for their life and end up being
surrendered by another country for prosecution.
But Chibita who was one of the Justices representing the
Judiciary while responding to the issue of political asylum noted that if
for instance there is a warrant of arrest against someone, there are procedures
they can always fulfill like signing extradition treaties.
The confederation of
Constitutional Experts has that has so far traversed several places including
Mbale, Mbarara, Kabale , Arua , Gulu among others, seeking views, and will tomorrow
be going to Entebbe to also interact with the locals over the same.