Tag: RECs

The COMESA Court of Justice clarifies important Jurisdictional Issues

The COMESA Court of Justice clarifies important Jurisdictional Issues

Gerhard Erasmus - 16 Nov 2017

Gerhard Erasmus, tralac Associate, discusses dispute settlement in the regional economic communities (RECs) and the role of private parties

Africa’s trade and integration endeavours are anchored in international legal instruments. This suggests that certain practical benefits should follow: Legal certainty about compliance with obligations and the availability of legal remedies to state and private parties (firms, investors, traders, service providers) should be basic features of intra-African trade and integration.

This is not the case. Rules-based trade governance (in the form of legal certainty and effective remedies) is not a feature of intra-African trade regimes. The Courts and Tribunals forming part of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) do not hear inter-state disputes. Private parties do bring applications (in the context of the rules allowing them standing) but these do not involve trade-related issues. National courts cannot hear inter-state disputes but they too must be able to decide disputes about the lawfulness of trade measures with domestic effect; such as anti-dumping and countervailing measures and safeguards. With a few

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