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The revised edition of the COMESA Court of Justice Rules of Procedure (2016) has been launched. Zambia’s Vice President Her Honor Inonge Wina launched the rules during the opening of the 20th Meeting of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General from the COMESA region, Friday, 29 September 2017.

The formulation of the new Rules began in early 2016 and the final draft adopted by the COMESA Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General in September of the same year. The Court has been using the 2006 Rules.

The VP said it was necessary to amend and update the court rules to make them more responsive to the needs of users.

“As the judicial arm of the Common Market, the Court needs to keep abreast with new developments around the globe to enhance access to justice and adoption of best practices within judicial bodies and tribunals,” she said.

Addressing the Ministers earlier, the Vice President urged Member States to domesticate legal instruments and decisions of the COMESA Heads of State and Government. This would ensure successful implementation of COMESA programmes in the region.

Mrs. Wina added: “I know that rules of procedure vary in each jurisdiction but what is important is that within each jurisdiction, we have developed guidelines for domestication so that the process is streamlined.”

The meeting of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General adopted various reports prepared by the Committee of experts on legal matters. These included the revised COMESA Common Investment Agreement (CCIA) and amendments to the COMESA Fund Protocol which will lead to the COMESA Infrastructure Fund being fully operational.

Also adopted was the agreement on the application for membership by Tunisia. Other legal instruments considered were the newly developed rules and regulations for staff, finance, and procurement for the COMESA Competition Commission. The revised staff rules of the COMESA Secretariat were also adopted.

At the meeting, the Secretary General of COMESA, Sindiso Ngwenya expressed concern at the slow pace of  domestication of the COMESA legal instruments by Member States.

“This has continued to deny the people the full benefits of regional integration,” he said.