COMESA Court of Justice Judges and Registry staff attend PALU 2023 Annual Conference
The COMESA Court of Justice Judges and Registry staff are participating in the PALU 2023 Annual Conference organized by the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) in collaboration with the Law Society of Zambia from 5-8 July 2023 in Livingstone, Zambia. The conference focuses on Africa’s sovereign debt crisis, with a central theme of “The Sovereign Debt Crisis in Africa: The Role of the Legal Profession.”
On day 2 of the conference, the Registrar of the COMESA Court of Justice, Hon. Nyambura Mbatia, was on a panel discussion titled “Accelerating African Integration through Free Movement and the Single African Market: Lessons Learnt.” The Registrar addressed the question of harmonization of laws, policies, and frameworks to achieve free movement of people, labour, and services. She specifically recognized the achievements of the one-stop border posts in Africa that are promoting the free movement of people and facilitating cross-border trade.
On day 3 of the Conference, Hon. Justice Bernard Georges served as a panellist during the session focused on the implementation of decisions from African international courts and tribunals, with an emphasis on the role of lawyers and lawyers’ associations.
During the session, Justice Georges stated that “one of the key challenges affecting the implementation of decisions from African international Courts was the reluctance of member states to cede their sovereignty.” The Judge noted this reluctance hinders the effective translation of regional decisions into concrete actions at the national level potentially undermining the overall effectiveness and impact of the regional Courts and tribunals.
To address this challenge, Hon. Justice Bernard Georges emphasized the role of lawyers and lawyers’ associations to raise awareness among governments, policymakers, and the public about the importance of respecting and implementing decisions from African international courts and tribunals.
Furthermore, Hon. Justice Bernard Georges stressed the need for continued dialogue and cooperation between regional courts, member states, and lawyers’ associations. This dialogue can help address concerns related to sovereignty and find ways to balance national autonomy with the implementation of decisions from international courts and tribunals.
As the conference progressed, the COMESA Court of Justice looked forward to continued engagement and collaboration with other stakeholders on the crucial role of the legal profession in addressing the debt crisis and finding sustainable solutions through integration.