The East African Court of Justice First Instance Division last Friday adjourned the hearing of Application No. 29 of 2020 seeking a temporary injunction restraining the Governments of Uganda and Tanzania from constructing the Crude Oil Pipeline pending determination of the main case.
The main case (Reference No. 39 of 2020 Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights & 3 Others vs The AG Uganda, Tanzania and Secretary-General EAC, challenges a decision to construct an East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Before the hearing of the Application started, the Solicitor General of Tanzania, Mr. Gabriel Malata representing the Attorney General, raised a Preliminary Objection (PO) on whether the Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter. The Court ruled that the issue will be dealt with in the merits of the Reference and deliver a judgment.
The Applicants in the Reference allege that the Crude Oil Pipeline project is alleged to be environmentally untenable and will extend to protected areas in East Africa with undue regard to livelihoods, gender, food security, children, and public health of East Africans.
They further allege that the Pipeline will pass through areas of settlements, farmlands, and water sources for thousands of indigenous people and there has been no consideration of their rights, which is a violation of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The Applicants are Civil Society Organizations within the region namely, Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT), African Institute for Energy Governance (AFRICOG), Natural Justices Kenya, and Center for Strategic Litigation Limited.
The matter came before Honourable Justice Yohane Masara (Principal Judge), Justice Dr. Charles Nyawello, Justice Charles Nyachae, Justice Richard Muhumuza, and Justice Richard Wejuli.
The East African Court of Justice (EACJ), 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 with the major responsibility of ensuring the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.