East African Court of Justice Arusha, 23 May 2014:The First Instance Division today heard a matter filed by a Burundi Citizen Mr. Masenge Venant (Applicant) against the Attorney General of the Republic of Burundi (Respondent) seeking declarations from the Court that the acquiring and using of land property of Kizina by the government of Burundi is an infringement of Article 6 (d) and 7 (2) of the Treaty for Establisgment of the East African Community. The Applicant also seeks Court to declare that the failure by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Burundi to demolish the buildings and stop construction from the land was unlawful and a violation of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community.
Mr. Ncutiyumuheto Lawyer for the Applicant submitted that, the Court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter under Article 27 of the Treaty. He also said the Applicant has the full right to enjoy his property that has been acquired by the State and therefore asked Court to order the government to demolish the buildings in his property. He further submitted that although there is a same case still pending in the National Court in Burundi (Administrative Court) to bring a matter to this Court (EACJ) does not require exhausting of local remedies according to Article 30 of the Treaty as a Natural person. He therefore asked Court to grant the declarations sought.
Mr. Elisha Mwansasu Senior State Attorney representing the Republic of Burundi submitted to Court that the declarations being sought by the Applicant are not true because the land property belongs to the government and it is using it to construct schools as well as a National Centre for Agriculture Research. He also argued that Mr. Masenge alleged land ownership is illegal. The Court will deliver its judgment on notice
Earlier the Court heard an application by the Applicant seeking an injunction to restrain the Government of Burundi from constructing on the land pending the final judgment and the ruling will be delivered on 19th June, 2014.
About the EACJ:
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. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility 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 has the Sub-Registries in the Partner States’ National Courts.
Article 6 (d) provides that good governance including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, a s well a s the recognition, promotion and protect ion of human and peoples right s in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Article 7 (2)The Partner States under take to abide by the principles of good governance, including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, social justice and the maintenance of universally accepted standards of human rights.
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East African Court of Justice