Uganda Given Two Weeks to Respond in ‘Walk to Work’ Case

Uganda Given Two Weeks to Respond in ‘Walk to Work’ Case

Arusha, 27 September 2011:
 The First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) Tuesday gave the Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda a two-week timeframe within which to respond in a case filed against the Government of Uganda by the East Africa Law Society (EALS) following the ‘Walk to Work’ protests in April/May this year.The case pits the EALS, a regional Bar association, as the Applicant against the Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda (1st Respondent) and the Secretary General of the East African Community (2nd respondent).The Court also granted a request by the EALS to amend paragraphs 15 and 19 of its Reference No. 2 of 2011, allowing it to remove the word “contravene” and replace it with “violation of” in respect of the application challenging the actions by the agents of the Uganda Government on various groups of the citizens of Uganda who EALS advocates contend “exercised their fundamental and constitutional rights to freedom of movement and association to walk to work in protest against the high cost of fuel, transport and living .”

The Law Society represented by Mr. Otiendo Amollo and Alex Mugongolwa submitted that the actions of the Government constituted violations of Articles 12,21,24 and 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (1995), Articles 6(d) and 7(2) of the EAC Treaty, and Articles 3,4,5,6,9,11 and 28 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

The Applicant argued that the Police, Military and State Agencies under the direction of the agents of the Government committed acts which amount to an affront to the independence of the Judiciary while promoting State-inspired impunity for human rights violation in the contravention of the Treaty.

Principal State Attorney of the Republic of Uganda Mr. Phillip Mwaka however described the EALS reference as lacking specifity citing paragraph 10 as an example where references are made to arrests and detentions without any names being mentioned, a framing the Principal State Attorney said was done in a sweeping manner that it was hard for the Attorney General to respond.

The Court has three more cases lined up this week, including one hearing, a judgment in another and a ruling on preliminary objections for a third. The cases in question are:

1. Application No. 6 of 2011: Democratic Party and Mukasa Fred Mbidde Versus The Secretary General of the East African Community and The Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda [challenging the conduct of elections for EALA Members in Uganda]; Wednesday 28 September 2011

2. Reference No. 2 of 2010 Emmanuel Mwakisha Mjawasi and 748 Others Versus The Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya [an application regarding unpaid terminal benefits for the services rendered to the defunct East African Community]; Thursday 29 September 2011

3. Reference No. 7 of 2010 Mary Ariviza and Okotch Mondoh Versus The Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya and The Secretary General of the East African Community [challenging the legality of the new Constitution of the Republic of Kenya]; Thursday 29 September 2011

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 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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