EAC Court condemns Rwanda for closing border with Uganda

President Museveni waves at Rwandan citizens after crossing over the Gatuna Border on June 23, 2022, for the first time in more than three years- to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali. Inset is Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

What you need to know:

  • The East African Court of Justice said the closure of the borders was in violation of the East African Treaty.

The East African Court of Justice yesterday condemned Rwanda for having closed its borders to Uganda for three years.

The justices held that the acts contravene the East African Treaty rules of free movement across the member partner states.

In 2019, Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda at Gatuna and Cyanika, paralysing business between the two countries and cutting off movements.

But a panel of five justices led by the Principal Judge, Dr Yohane Masara, ruled that the said acts contravened specifically Articles 5,6 and 7, among other articles of the Treaty.

The regional court also held that restricting the freedom of movement of Rwandan nationals from accessing Uganda, was a total infringement and a violation on the protocol of free movement of goods and persons.

Going forward, the regional court warned Rwanda against violating any provisions of the Treaty and called upon partner states to always adhere to the treaties they sign.

The ruling of the court followed a case filed in April 2019 by a concerned lawyer, Mr Steven Kalali.

The petitioner said he  was aggrieved by the conduct of Rwandan President Paul Kagame of refusing immigration officers and revenue authorities at the border posts to allow Ugandan citizens, traders and goods from crossing into his country over unjustified reasons.

In his petition he filed against the Attorney General of Rwanda, Mr Kalali had contended that what Rwanda did, defeated the spirit of the East African Treaty, free trade and common market protocol since the then closed border posts were also serving other countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

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