Case Number REFERENCE NO. 7 OF 2013

1. This Reference was filed on 30th July, 2013 by the above named Applicant and was brought under Articles 6(d),7(2), 27(1), 30(1) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (”the Treaty”) as well as Rule 24 of the East African Court of Justice Rules of Procedure . Certain orders and declarations are sought in the Reference which we shall reproduce later in this Judgment.
2. The Applicant describes itself as a legal person under Burundian Law registered by an ordinance dated 8th July, 2013 although its Articles of Association were adopted on 3rd October, 2009. Amongst its stated objectives are the encouragement of the media to defend freedom of the press and social justice as well as freedom of expression.
3. The Applicant’s address is Boulevard du 28 Novembre, Robert 1, Avenue de Mars, B. P. 6719, Bujumbura, Burundi and at the time of hearing was represented by Mr. Donald Omondi Deya, Advocate of No.3 Jandu Road, Corridor Area, P.O. Box 6065, Arusha, Tanzania.
4. The Respondent is the Attorney General of the Republic of Burundi sued in his capacity as such and also as Minister for Justice and Holder of the Seal and his address is P.0 Box 1880 Bujumbura, Burundi. Mr. Neston Kayobera, Director of Judicial Organization in the Respondent’s office, at all times during the proceedings, appeared on his behalf.
5. By order of this Court issued on 15th August, 2014 in EACJ Application No.2 of 2014, nine non-governmental organizations were joined as Amici curiae. They are Forum pour le Reinforcement de la Societe Civile, the International Press Institute, Maison Pour de la Presse du Burundi, Forum la conscience et le Developement, PEN Kenya Centre, Pan African Lawyers Union, PEN International Reporters sans Frontiers, and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

Date filed
Treaty Article

First Instance Judgment

VerdictFinal Orders 123. Having found as above, the final orders to be made are as follows:- i) Prayers (i) and (ii) of the Reference are granted in the following terms only:- a) It is hereby declared that Article 19(b), (g), (i) and part of (j) of the Burundian Law No.1/11 of 4th June 2013 amending Law No.1/025 of 27th November 2003 which restrict dissemination of information on the stability of the currency, offensive articles or reports regarding public or private persons, information that may harm the credit of the State and national economy, diplomacy, scientific research and reports of Commissions of inquiry by the State are in violation of the principles enshrined in Articles 6(d) and 7(2) of the Treaty. b) It is hereby declared that Article 20 of the Burundian Law No.1/11 of 4th June 2013 amending Law No.1/025 of 27th November 2003 to the extent that it obligates journalists to reveal their sources of information before the competent authorities in situations where the information relates to offences against State security, public order, State defence secrets and against the moral and physical integrity of one or more persons is in violation of Articles 6(d) and 7(2) of the Treaty. c) The Republic of Burundi shall, in accordance with Article 38(3) of the Treaty take measures, without delay, to implement this Judgement within its internal legal mechanisms; d) Prayer (iii) in the Reference is dismissed; and e) Each Party shall bear its costs. 124. Orders accordingly. Delivered, dated and signed this 15th day of May, 2015 at Arusha.
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Date deliveredMay 15, 2015

Appeal Judgment

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Date delivered