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Court Dismisses Case alleging South Sudan not fit for EAC Membership.

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) First Instance Division on 27th February 2015 dismissed the case against the Attorneys General of the 5 Partner States, the Republics of Uganda (1st Respondent), Kenya (2nd Respondent), Tanzania (3rd Respondent), Rwanda (4th Respondent), Burundi (5th Respondent) and the Secretary General of the East African Community (6th Respondent). The Application was filed by Patrick Ntege Walusimbi, Dan Ssenga and Mohammed Waiga (all being Ugandans trading in the Republic of South Sudan) through their company known as Uganda Traders Association of South Sudan Ltd. The Association was initially one of the Applicants in the case until 5th September 2014 when it was struck out for non-compliance of Rule 24(4) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court which requires a case made by a cooperate body to be accompanied by documentary evidence of its existence in law.The case was prompted by the action of the Republic of South Sudan of applying to join as a member the East African Community under Article 3(3) (b) of the EAC Treaty. The Applicants opposed the application on grounds that the Republic of South Sudan does not adhere to universally accepted principles of good governance, democracy, rule of law and observance of human rights and social justice as required under Article 3(3) (b) of the EAC Treaty.The Applicants sought a declaration that the Republic of South Sudan is not a fit and proper candidate to be granted membership in the EAC bloc and an order that the Respondents should not grant the Republic of South Sudan membership to the EAC.The Court in delivering the judgment held inter alia that, it is vested with jurisdiction to entertain the case and it has been persuaded and convinced by the Applicants that the case discloses a cause of action under Article 30(1) of the Treaty.Furthermore, the Court held that, the process under scrutiny duly complied with the Treaty and the Protocol for Admission to the EAC; it further stated, the directive for the commencement of negotiations was grounded in the Summit’s discretionary mandate as enshrined in Article 3(2) of the Protocol for Admission to the EAC, and it did not contravene alleged Treaty provisions.The Court dismissed the case with costs to the Respondents.      

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