Case Number CASE STATED NO. 1 of 2014

On 2nd October 2012, Mr. Tom Kyahurwenda (the Plaintiff), lodged Civil Suit No. 298 of 2012 in the High Court of the Republic of Uganda against the Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda (the Defendant), in which he averred that the actions of the Defendant in the set of facts presented before the High Court amounted to a breach of Articles 6, 7, 8 and 123 of the EAC Treaty for which he suffered pecuniary and non-pecuniary loss. The Plaintiff submitted that the Defendant was liable for the misconduct of its officers and sought: compensation for the breach and consequent injury, loss and damage; and; the institution of mechanisms to deter a repeat and recurrence of similar acts, commissions and omissions of and non-compliance of the EAC Treaty by State by agents, workers, officials and servants of the Government of Uganda.

The Defendant questioned the jurisdiction of national courts to adjudicate cases relating to Treaty interpretation and to award compensation contending that they were not justiciable. The matter was therefore referred to the Court for a preliminary ruling.

Date filed
KeywordBinding erga omnes , Preliminary ruling , Treaty interpretation
Treaty ArticleArticle 123 , Article 27 , Article 33 , Article 34 , Article 6 , Article 7 , Article 8 , Articles of EAC Treaty , Rule 76

First Instance Judgment

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Appeal Judgment

  1. While Article 34 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community grants the EACJ exclusive jurisdiction to interpret the Treaty and to invalidate Community Acts, national courts and tribunals are entitled to entertain matters involving the violation of the Treaty and the application of the provisions of the Treaty within the context of Articles 33 and 34. Where a breach is established, it is for the national courts to determine whether there was damage, and what reliefs and remedies are justifiable and commensurate with the loss. However, if a national court or tribunal considers an interpretation of the Treaty to be necessary, then it has no option but to refer the question to the EACJ. Hence, the discretion is narrow and confined to determining whether or not a ruling on the question is necessary to enable the court to make its judgment.
  1. Decisions of this Court in the interpretation of the Treaty take precedence over decisions of the national courts and tribunals on similar matters.
  2. The fundamental objectives and operational principles of the Treaty in Articles 6,7 and 8 , which are solemn, sacred and sacrosanct, are justiciable before the national courts and tribunals of the Partner States.
  3. However, Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Article 123 of the Treaty remain inoperative and are not justiciable both before this Court and before the national courts and tribunals.
  4. The decision as to the costs of this Preliminary Ruling and the appropriate remedies is a matter for the High Court of the Republic of Uganda to pronounce in the context of the proceedings in the suit before the High Court.
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Date deliveredJuly 31, 2015