East African Court of Justice, 8th May 2023: The Appellate Division today has resumed its May Session sitting at the EAC Headquarters Arusha- Tanzania. During this session a total of 12 matters will be brought before the Court and these include 2 Scheduling Conferences, 5 Hearings and 5 Judgements to be delivered. The Session will go on up-to 31st May 2023.
In its first sitting, the Court handled two (2) matters, that is; a Scheduling Conference for Appeal No. 12 of 2022 The Attorney General of the Republic of Burundi versus Francis Ngaruko.
The Appeal arises from Reference No. 9 of 2019 Francis Ngaruko vs The Attorney General of Burundi over land property dispute. The EACJ First Instance Division (Trial Court) on 30th September 2022, allowed the Reference (Case), declaring and ordering that, the Burundi Government’s decision through a special Court to cancel the Applicant’s land Title and declare his property one without a master contravened Article 6 (d) of the EAC Treaty. Court also ordered the Government of Burundi (the Respondent) to restore the property to the Applicant (Francis Ngaruko) and pay him adequate compensation for the property based on the current market value and pay him costs for the Reference.
The Attorney General of Burundi being aggrieved by the said decision preferred to file an Appeal which came up for a Scheduling Conference today.
The Court also heard Application No. 14 of 2022 Rugofarm Company versus The Attorney General of Burundi, arising from Appeal No. 7 of 2022. The Application is asking the Court to strike out the said Appeal, alleging that, the notice of appeal was not filed on time and not served on the Applicant. The Court will deliver the Ruling in the Application on notice.
This Appeal arises from Reference No. 14 of 2018 versus the Government of Burundi, challenging the decision of the Special Court of Land and other Assets of the Republic of Burundi.
The EACJ First Instance Division on 7th April 2022, ruled in favor of the Applicant (Rugo Farm) and declared that the Reference was not time barred; that the contract of sale of land by RUZIZI to the Applicant was legal; that failure of the Special Court of Lands and Other Assets to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi in the impugned decision is a violation of Articles 6 (d) & 7 (2) of the EAC Treaty; the Court ordered the Government of Burundi to pay Costs of the Reference to the Respondent (Rugo Farm).
The Attorney General of Burundi being aggrieved by is this decision of the Trial Court preferred to file Appeal No. 7 of 2022 The Attorney General of Burundi vs Rugo Farm.
The Court operates on ad-hoc basis and therefore sits quarterly, only the Judge President and Principal Judge serve on full time basis, other Judges only come during Sessions.
The Appellate Division is currently composed of 5 Judges namely, Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera, President Hon. Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri Vice President, Hon. Lady Justice Anita Mugeni (Judge), Hon. Justice M’Inoti Kathurima and Hon. Justice Cheborion Barishaki.
The Appellate Division is responsible for handling matters of Appeals, where a party may not be satisfied with the decision of the Trail Court and files an appeal under Article 35 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC). Article 35 provides that; “An appeal from the judgment or any order of the First Instance Division of the Court shall lie to the Appellate Division on- a) points of law, b) grounds of lack of jurisdiction; or c) procedural irregularity.”
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East African Court of Justice.