October 25, 2020: Former Judge President of the COMESA Court of Justice Nzamba Kitonga has passed on. Justice Kitonga, (centre in the picture) from Kenya retired from the COMESA Court in 2015 together with the entire Bench after the lapse of its 10 years tenure.
His time at the helm of the regional Court is remarkable with landmark rulings and Advisory Opinions that served to entrench the rule of law in the COMESA regional integration agenda and instill investor confidence. Among them was the ruling that a member State of the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA) had acted contrary to Article 46 of the COMESA Treaty by imposing a customs duty on imports of a product from another FTA Member State and ordered a refund.
In another landmark Advisory Opinion delivered in 2015, the Court defined the extent of immunities and privileges accorded to the COMESA institutions stating that “the immunities and privileges granted to COMESA Institutions did not extend to commercial transactions between individuals or entities and the Institutions.“
The late Judge also led the COMESA Court in transitioning from its temporary residence at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia to its current permanent home in Khartoum, Sudan and the inauguration of the Courts’ premises in March 2015.
In his home country, Justice Kitonga was the chair of the Committee of Experts that drafted the current Constitution of Kenya.
He died on Saturday, 24th October 2020 aged 64 years.
May his soul rest in eternal peace