Case Number Appeal No. 1 of 2016

The Appellant was aggrieved by the decision of this Court’s First Instance Division (“the Trial Court”) dated 23’d March, 2016, dismissing in its entirety her Reference No. 7 of 2015 (“the Reference”). In the Reference, the Appellant was complaining against the Respondent’s decision of, allegedly “unprocedurally and illegally” depriving her “of a deserved opportunity to be interviewed for the position of Registrar at the EAST AFRICAN COURT OF JUSTICE.” The Respondent categorically denied this allegation. The Trial Court, after a full trial, found the Appellant’s complaint unsubstantiated and wanting in merit. It accordingly dismissed the Reference, ordering each party to bear her/his own costs, hence this Appeal (“the Appeal”).

RespondentThe Secretary General of the East African Community
ComplainantAlice Nijimbere
Date filed
Treaty Article

First Instance Judgment

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Date delivered

Appeal Judgment

VerdictTo recap briefly, the Appellant had applied for the Post of Registrar of the East African Court of Justice. From a host of applicants, she was one of the lucky six (6) who were shortlisted for interview. The interview was slated for September 28th, 2015. It was to be carried out by way of video conferencing. The candidates/interviewees were to be interviewed at the offices of the Ministry of East African Community Affairs in their respective countries. The Appellant was, therefore, to appear for the interview at the said offices in Bujumbura. The Appellant, at first and for no apparent reason, sought from the Respondent a "special dispensation" to be interviewed at Arusha. When pressed by the Respondent, she claimed (2 days later) that she was taking care of her sick 7-year old daughter. The Respondent took the view that since the daughter was not hospitalized in order "to accord a/I candidates a level playing field," there "could be no exception for any candidate". The request was accordingly rejected. The Appellant took offence of this decision and did not travel to Bujumbura. The interviews proceeded as scheduled and a new Registrar was duly recruited. Believing that the Respondent's decision denying her special dispensation was illegal, in that it was an infringement of Articles 6 (d),(e), and (f) and 71(h) of the Treaty, the Appellant, instituted the Reference under Article 30(1). She sought for the annulment of the Respondent's decision and a re-launch of the entire "process of interview and organised a different interview panel". The Trial Court found the Respondent to have acted reasonably in refusing to grant the special dispensation. It also found the extravagant request of relaunching the interview process incapable of achievement. It accordingly dismissed the Reference, ordering each Party to bear her/his own costs. Only the Appellant was dissatisfied with the entire decision, hence this contested Appeal. In the Appeal, the Appellant is praying for: "an order to reverse the decision appealed against and the decision of the First Instance Division be dismissed in its entirety with costs." She is, however, silent on what further orders the Court should make in the event the impugned Judgment is reversed. In view of the decision we have arrived at, this is only a by the way. On our part, having dispassionately considered the Pleadings, evidence, the governing provisions of the Treaty and the Rules, the impugned Judgment and Parties' Submissions before us, we are settled in our minds that this Appeal has been lodged without any sufficient ground of complaint. There is nothing perverse in that Judgment to justify our reversing it or even varying it. It is as balanced and clear as it is reasoned. It can only be upheld in its entirety, as we hereby do. All said and done, we dismiss the Appeal. As the Respondent did not appeal the Trial Court's order on costs, we make no order as to costs.
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Date deliveredDecember 2, 2016