Kampala, Uganda, May 9, 2019: COMESA Court of Justice has conducted a one day seminar targeting lawyers in Uganda and also launched its User’s Manual; a simple guide on how to handle legal matters in the Court.
The seminar was themed: ‘Role of COMESA Court of Justice in Promoting, facilitating and Protecting Trade and Investments’. This was the second publicity seminar to be conducted by the regional Court in Uganda with over 50 lawyers drawn from the public and private sector participating.
Uganda Minister of Trade and Industry Hon. Amelia Kyambadde opened the seminar.
The event was part of the COMESA Courts initiative to raise the awareness of key stakeholders, including the legal fraternity and the business community, to fully understand its operations. Henceforth, the stakeholders are expected to use the Court as a dispute resolution forum for matters that touch on the application of the Treaty of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
In her statement, Hon Kyambadde noted that even though the Court has been in existence since the inception of COMESA, its services are underutilized, and therefore urged the legal fraternity to publicize it.
“COMESA Court plays a very important role in promoting, facilitating and protecting trade and investments in the COMESA region,” the Minister told the lawyers. “Let us sensitize and educate the people about our trade relationship with COMESA, now that you are part of us.”
She described COMESA as crucial market for Uganda’s trade within the region especially in exports which she said keep increasing yearly.
The Judge President of the Court, Lady Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, briefed the participants on the activities that the Court was undertaking aimed at popularizing its operations within all Member States.
These include the new online evidence management system known as CaseLines, which the COMESA Court adopted early this year. CaseLines allows the creation and presentation of a fully digital bundle including multi-media evidence; collaboration tools for enhanced pre-trial preparation and secure role validated videoconferencing for virtual hearings. It enables judges and lawyers to work efficiently in a secure online environment from their offices.
Justice Chibesakunda said: “We realized that most COMESA residents do not know about the existence of the Court and the reason why it exists and that is why we are reaching out to key stakeholders.”