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Roundtable on the application of international law in regional and domestic courts: Opportunities and challenges

As part of the International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC) project a roundtable discussion was held at Munyonyo Commonwealth resort, Kampala, Uganda on 29 July 2010. Judges from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Southern Sudan participated in the roundtable discussion.

 

The roundtable was opened by Hon Justice Laeticia Kikonyogo, Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda, who highlighted the important role of the judiciary in strengthening the rule of law in Africa. She called for judges to be pro-active and use international law even if not referred to by advocates. ILDC associate editor, Dr Antonios Tanzakopoulos, from the University of Glasgow, made a presentation on the relationship between international and domestic law. He highlighted that international law no longer only regulates the relationship between states, but also requires states, including domestic courts, to take measures to ensure compliance with international law. He noted that even if international law formally does not form part of the law of the land, courts should always aim for consistent interpretation.

Hon Justice Irene Mulyangonja Kakooza of the High Court of Uganda presented a paper on judicial application of international law in Uganda and highlighted the importance of online resources, such as ILDC, where judges can easily find relevant case law. Dr Henry Onoria, an advocate and lecturer at Makere University, made a presentation on Ugandan courts and international law from the perspective of the practitioner. This was followed by presentations by the Hon Justice John Wol Makec, Chief Justice of Southern Sudan, Hon Justice Lawrence Kaduri of the High Court of Tanzania, Hon Justice John W Mwera of the High Court of Kenya, Diomède Vyizigiro, President of the Burundi Court of Appeal and Hon Justice Adolphe Udahemuka, judge of the Intermediate Court of Karongi in Rwanda. In their presentations and the discussion that followed, the judges agreed on the importance of making use of international law where relevant and made reference to cases from their jurisdictions where international law had been used.

After lunch Dr Magnus Killander from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria made a presentation on the use of international law by domestic courts in Southern Africa, while Dr Solomon Ebobrah, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and ILDC West Africa coordinator made a presentation on the approach of courts in West Africa to international law. Thereafter Hon. Lady Justice Stella Arach-Amoko, Deputy Principal Judge of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) introduced the work of the EACJ. Hon Justice Joseph Mulenga, judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights made a presentation on the work of the Court. Dr Killander showed ILDC online and invited the participating courts to make use of this resource which is freely available to all African institutions. Dr Tzanakopoulos wrapped up the discussions which continued over a cocktail  at the shore of Lake Victoria sponsored by the Chief Justice of Uganda.

Presentations:

Roundtable on application of International Law in Regional and Domestic Courts: Opportutnites and Challenges
Compilation of the programme and papers
International Human Rights and the Courts in Uganda
Irene Mulyagonja-Kakooza, Judge of the High Court of Uganda
Application of International Law in Domestic Courts: Perspectives from Practice
Henry Onoria, Senior Lecturer, Department of Public and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, Makerere University
Future application of International Law in the Southern Sudan
Justice John Wuol Makec, President of Supreme Court of Southern Sudan
Relationshop between the domestic courts and regional and sub-regional courts
Hon Lady Justice Stella Arach-Amoko, Deputy Principal Judge, East African Court of Justice
International law and domestic human rights litigation in Africa: An introduction
Magnus Killander, Head of research, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria & Horace Adjolohoun, Research fellow, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

Photos:

Roundtable discussions :: Group photo of the  participants in  the roundtable Roundtable discussions :: Hon Laeticia Kikonyogo, Deputy  Chief  Justice of Uganda, Hon Marie-Ancille Ntakaburimvo, Chief Justice  of  Burundi and Hon Stella Arach Amoko, Justice of the Court of Appeal of   Uganda and Deputy Principal Judge, East African Court of Justice Roundtable discussions :: Entertainment on the shore of  Lake  Victoria after the conclusion of the roundtable

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