EAC Secretary General Asks Court to Dismiss Rwanda Case

EAC Secretary General Asks Court to Dismiss Rwanda Case

Arusha, 26 October 2011: The Secretary General of the East African Community has asked the First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice to dismiss a case filed by Plaxeda Rugumba in which the latter claims the Secretary General failed to act as required by not investigating the alleged arrest and detention without trial of Lieutenant Colonel Seveline Rugigana Ngabo by the Rwandan Government. The Attorney General of the Republic of Rwanda is the second respondent in the case.Ms Rugumba, in Reference No.8 of 2010 filed 8 November last year challenges the arrest and detention without trial of Lt. Col. Ngabo – her brother – as being in breach of fundamental principles of the Community as set out in the EAC Treaty.She faults the EAC Secretary General, the first respondent in the case, for failing to investigate the failure of Rwanda to fulfill the obligations of the Treaty and submit its findings as required by Article 29 of the Treaty.

Appearing before Deputy Principal Judge Hon. Lady Justice Mary Stella Arach Amoko, Hon. Mr. Justice John Mkwawa and Hon. Mr. Justice Isaac Lenaola today, counsel for the Secretary General, Mr. Anthony Kafumbe, however argued that the EAC chief executive is not in breach of the Treaty because he was not aware of the detention of Lt. Col. Ngabo.

He prayed the regional court gives the National Court of the Republic of Rwanda an opportunity to attend to the matter before it is brought to the EACJ’s attention, concluding with a request to the Court to reject Ms Rugumba’s submissions.

The counsel for the applicant, Mr. Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, had submitted that the actions of the Rwandan Government constituted violations of Articles 6(d) and 7(2) of the EAC Treaty and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

Mr. Rwakafuuzi also argued that his client had sought redress at the East African Court of Justice because there were no local (judicial) remedies to exhaust, and the Rwandan National Court does not have the jurisdiction to interpret the EAC Treaty. The advocate concluded by asking the regional court to award costs to Ms Rugumba.

Mr. Aimable Havugiyaremye, State Counsel representing the Attorney General of the Republic of Rwanda, on his part argued that it would be a violation of the principle of sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Rwanda by denying the National Court an opportunity to attend to the matter. He concluded by asserting that the detention of Lt. Col. Ngabo was rendering justice to the citizens of Rwanda. Court will deliver its judgment on notice.

Additional information

Article 6 (d) of the Treaty outlines as one of the fundamental principles governing the achievement of the objectives of the Community good governance including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, as well as the recognition, promotion and protect ion of human and people’s rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

While Article 7(2) states that: The Partner States undertake 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.

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. Set up 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 High Courts of the Partner States serve as sub-registries.

For more information please contact:

Dr. John Ruhangisa, Registrar
Email: ruhangisa@eachq.org

Ms. Geraldine Umugwaneza, Deputy Registrar
Email: umugwaneza@eachq.org

Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Department;
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs;
EAC Secretariat
Tel: +255 784 835021; Email: othieno@eachq.org

East African Court of Justice
Arusha, Tanzania
http://www.eacj.org

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