2 November 2007

Uganda: Country Violated Rule of Law, Says EAC Court

Kampala — THE East African Court of Justice has found Uganda guilty of violating the rule of law and the rights of its citizens by allowing its military to repeatedly interfere with court processes.

The Arusha-based court also ruled that the government violated the principles in the EA Community Treaty, Daily Monitor learnt yesterday.

The declarations follow a January petition to the regional court by a group of 22 suspected rebels of the People's Redemption Army.

Mr Wandera Ogalo and Mr Kiyemba Mutale represented the suspects.

The group, however, lost part of the case that accused the Secretary General of the East African Community, Juma Volter Mwapachu, of having failed to ensure that Uganda complies with the EAC Treaty.

"The court exonerated the secretary general on grounds that he did not know what was happening in Uganda," a source told Daily Monitor yesterday.

"He has, however, been asked to be more pro-active and not sit back. He has been directed to put in place a framework to know what is happening in the five member states of the community."

No orders

The case was heard by a five-member team of EACJ headed by Tanzanian Justice Agustino Ramathan. Ugandan judges, Joseph Mulenga and Stella Arach Amoko, were on the panel.

The East African Community is made up of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. EACJ however, stopped at making declarations. No orders were issued against Uganda because the other member states are yet to sign an enabling protocol.

"We only sought the declarations and we are happy that it has gone in our clients' favour," Mr Mutale told Daily Monitor by telephone from Arusha.

"We hope the government will look at the declarations and avoid future violation of the EAC Treaty and rule of law."

The PRA suspects were jointly charged with Dr Kizza Besigye with treason.

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