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EAC court dismisses case against Uganda, Rwanda over border closure

Author: Alhadi Hawar | Published: Thursday, November 16, 2023

Eat Africa Court of Justice in a session - Courtesy

The East African Court of Justice has dismissed a case challenging Uganda and Rwanda, over the closure of the border, claiming that it violates women’s economic rights.

This is according to a press statement issued by the court yesterday, by the Deputy Registrar of East African Court of Justice Christine Mutimura in Arusha, Tanzania.

The East African Court of Justice First Instance Division dismissed a case challenging the Republics of Uganda and Rwanda that it violates Women’s economic rights, under the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community on cross-border Trade.

Case Reference No. 13 of 2019 Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women and two others against the two Governments.

The three Applicants who filed the Case are; the Eastern Africa Sub-Regional Support Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI), the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), and the Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights.

The Applicants alleged that Rwanda’s action of closing its border with Uganda, contravened and violated Articles, 5, 6 (b) and (d) and 7, 8 (1) (c) among others of the East African Community (EAC) Treaty and the Protocol on Common Market.

Further, that the action also violates the economic rights of women in cross-border trade and stated that both governments of Uganda and Rwanda, must uphold the fundamental principles of the EAC as enshrined in Article 6 (d) and 7 (2).

The Trial Court in its Judgment ruled that the case was filed out of time beyond the two months’ time limitation, contrary to Article 30 (2) of the Treaty.

However, the court considered two facts, first; the decision or act of closing the border between Uganda and Rwanda was made on 28th February 2019.

Applicants filed this Reference in Court on 21st June 2019, which was beyond the two months provided for under the Treaty.

Therefore, having been determined so, the Court had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter, hence dismissed and ordered each party to bear its costs.

The Court did not consider it necessary to deal with other issues framed for determination, since it lacked the jurisdiction.

Present in Court to receive the judgment, were the lawyers for the Respondents, that is Counsel Sam

Tusubila, for Attorney General of Uganda, and Counsel Nicholas Ntarugera, for Attorney General of Rwanda.

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ or ‘the Court’), is one of the Organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

The Court was established in November 2001, its key mandate is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.

Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines its permanent seat.

The Court’s sub-registries are located in the capitals of the following Partner States: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania.

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