18 February 2018

East Africa: Tanzanian Loses Another Court Bid to Block Epas

Arusha — An injuction seeking to stop the East African Community (EAC) states from signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union has been dismissed.

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) on Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by Castro Pius, a Tanzanian national, for what it described as "disrepective' behaviour by the applicant. Pius had sought an injuction to stop the EAC partner states which had not signed the EPA deal not to sign it. The injuction also sought the countries which had already penned their signatures to the agreement be stopped from carrying out any further procedures and processes. The case was earlier dismissed by the First Instance Division of the Court (on July 6th, 2017) which led to the applicant to file an appeal to the Appellate Division. Reading the judgement, Justice Aaron Ringera said the appeal had been dismissed under Rule 1 (2) of the EACJ Rules of Procedure.

He said during the hearing of the appeal, the Court received a communication from the appellant to the effect that his agent was indisposed and would not show up. A copy of the communication alongside with the doctor's letter granting five days of bed rest was taken to the Appeal's desk at the Court with the view of setting another day of sitting.

According to the Counsels of the Respondents, that was "in a sense" a proper communication for adjournment "as it was not addressed to the Court neither was it copied to the Respondents".

Justice Ringera argued that was disrepective attitude to the Court as it amounted to to the abuse to the Court process.

"We are convinced that the appellant's conduct also manifests disrespect in the appeal," he said, orderinth the appeal dismissed and costs awarded to the respondents.

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