Case Number APPEAL NO. 1 OF 2012

On 8th November 2010, the Respondent filed this Reference No 8 of 2010 in the First Instance Division averring that the arrest of her brother Lieutenant Colonel Seveline Rugigana Ngabo, by the Appellant’s agents and detention without trial was a breach of the fundamental principles of the Community, to wit; Articles 6(d) and 7(2) which demand that Partner States shall be bound to govern their populace on the principles of good governance and universally accepted standards of human rights.

The First Instance Division concluded that: the Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine the Reference;, that the Reference was filed within the time prescribed by the Treaty; that the Reference was not barred by the rule of exhaustion of local remedies; and finally that the Appellant/Respondent, the Republic of Rwanda, had breached the aforesaid Articles of the Treaty. The Court granted the declaration as sought by the Applicant/ Respondent.

Aggrieved by the said decision, the Appellant on 6th February 2012 lodged this appeal.

Date filed
KeywordLimitation of time , No exhaustion of local remedies
Treaty ArticleArticle 27 , Article 29 , Article 30 , Article 6 , Article 7 , Articles of EAC Treaty

First Instance Judgment

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Appeal Judgment

  1. The failure by the appropriate Authorities of the Republic of Rwanda:(a ) To produce Lt. Col. Seveline Rugigana Ngabo before a competent Court of law beyond the forty eight (48) hours prescribed under Rwandan Laws; and(b) To charge him with specific offences for his arrest and detention, as well as to inform him, his of family or his lawyers the time of his arrest/detention-for a period of five (5) months, during which time he was held incommunicado was fundamentally inconsistent with Rwanda’s express undertakings under Articles 6 (d), 7 (2) and 8 (1) of the Treaty: These failures, singly and collectively, constituted an infringement of the said provisions of the Treaty.
  2. Unlike other legal regimes in this field, the EAC Treaty provides no requirement for exhaustion of local remedies as a condition for accessing the East African Court of Justice.
  3. The onus was on the Appellant to establish the time at which the detainee or his family members or his lawyers were told or otherwise made aware of the detention of Lt. Col. Ngabo. The Appellant failed to discharge the burden of showing the Respondent’s knowledge of the critical date. He cannot now turn around to impeach the Respondent for any failure to file the Reference within the two (2) months prescribed under Article 30 (2) of the Treaty.Therefore the appeal failed.
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Date deliveredJune 22, 2012