The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) first instance division has dismissed a case against the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Uganda over the closure of the border in 2019. The court alleges that the case was filed out of time, beyond the two-month time limitation, contrary to Article 30(2) of the treaty.
According to a statement released on November 15, 2023, the court considered the facts in its dismissal of the case: that the decision or act of closing the border between Uganda and Rwanda was made on February 28, 2019; and that applicants filed this reference in court on June 21, 2019, which was beyond the two-month period provided for under the treaty.
“Therefore, having been determined, the court had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter; hence, it was dismissed and ordered each party to bear its own costs,” read the statement in part.
This ruling comes after a case that was filed by three applicants, namely the Eastern Africa Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), the South and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), and the Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) Ltd., on the grounds that the closure violated women’s economic rights under the treaty of the EAC on cross-border trade.
In February 2019, Rwanda closed its borders of Cyanika and Gatuna blocking trucks from Uganda and advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda. Rwanda claimed that Ugandan authorities were abducting, arresting at random, jailing, torturing, and illegally deporting Rwandans.
However, on January 31, 2022, Rwanda reopened its Gatuna border post, signalling the end of the three-year closure.