African Court of Justice suffers more constraints

Addis-Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) - – The budget proposal for the African Court of Justice, that was created last July in Gambia was rejected by the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Panafrican organisation, a diplomat said Sunday in Addis Ababa.
The Committee deems it necessary to wait until the Court starts operating before it can allocate the required financial endowment.
As soon as it was established in July 2002, the African Court of Justice received US$2.
5 million from the African Union.
For 2007, US$3 million has been provided as budget for the Court, though functioning in a chaotic way.
To date, the African Court of Justice has no premises in Arusha, as the 7th Summit of the heads of states had selected the Tanzanian city to host the jurisdiction.
But as the Tanzanian authorities have still not provided the premises, the Court has been stagnating since it was established.
According to a Tanzanian delegate, who requested confidentiality, "Tanzania did tell the African Union that it would not build premises for the African Court of Justice, but would fight for the Court to recover the premises of the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR)".
Therefore, they will have to wait until 2010, when the ICTR leaves, which disappoints members of the African Court of Justice as they now wonder about what to do for their institution to operate normally.
Currently, Tanzania has made a commitment to provide housing for the chairperson of the Court, and to sign a headquarters agreement for this Jurisdiction.
But the terms and conditions of such an agreement are likely not convenient enough for the judges of the Court, who are seeking additional provisions.
For one of the magistrates, the agreement does not include the issue of the movement of the judges across Eastern Africa, a region that is very difficult for the West Africans to access.
As two members of the Court are from Mali and Senegal, their travelling from their countries to Tanzania may therefore be a matter of concern.
"It often takes three months to get a visa.
The agreement should therefore clearly include a provision that would enable the judges to travel freely from an area to another without having to have a visa," one judge pointed.
This situation may paralyse the African Court of Justice, with even no registrar.
The internal regulations have even not been adopted, which is also likely to hinder legal processes.

29 january 2007 11:36:00

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