COMESA Court’s Initiative to Bridge Administrative Gaps

Legal experts are convening in Kenya to review three key legal documents of the COMESA Court of Justice. These include the draft Staff Rules, the draft Executive Management Staff Rules, and a proposal to amend Article 20 of the COMESA Treaty.

The presentation of these draft legal instruments took place during the 25th COMESA Legislative Drafting Sub-Committee meeting in Thika town, Kenya, held from April 20 to April 29, 2024. This Sub – Committee comprises legal experts from Egypt, Djibouti, Kenya, Malawi, and Mauritius.

The Registrar of the Court, Hon. Nyambura Mbatia, informed the meeting that the revision of the Court’s Staff Rules aimed to address some gaps in the current rules, such as the lack of clear performance appraisal and disciplinary procedures, and to align the rules with modern legislative drafting best practices.

Furthermore, she highlighted Article 20 of the Treaty, which stipulates the composition of the Court, regarding the terms and conditions of the judges. The Court is composed of twelve judges appointed by the COMESA Authority of Heads of State, with seven serving in the First Instance Division and five in the Appellate Division.

The proposed amendment stems from the decision made at the 25th Meeting of the COMESA Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General, held in Lusaka, Zambia, on 3 November 2022. This decision directed that Article 20 of the COMESA Treaty be amended in accordance with Article 17(4) of the Treaty and be submitted to the Legal Drafting Sub-Committee for legal review.

The Sub-Committee meeting is chaired by Mr. Isaac Chiundira of Malawi, with Kenya serving as the Vice-Chair and Egypt as the Rapporteur. Mr. Chiundira welcomed the delegates and staff members from the Court and the COMESA Secretariat to the meeting, emphasizing the importance of the task and wishing them fruitful deliberations.