EAC Court of Justice blocks Uganda from investigating Basajjabalaba


ARUSHA, Tanzania-East African Court of Justice, has llowed Amendment of an application for the Basajjabalaba seeking to restrain the Government from summoning them for investigation over a criminal case.

As the Court resumed its sessions this week, the First Instance Division on Tuesday, 5th June, 2018 allowed the Applicant, Mr. Hassan Basajjabalaba & Bassajabalaba Muzamiru (Ugandans), to amend their Application seeking Court to stop the government of Uganda from summoning them for investigation over a criminal case. The Applicants represented by their advocates in court made the request under Rule 48(a) of the Court Rules to amend their Application.

The Court on 24th April, 2018 had declined to grant ex parte orders (Order granted in the absence of the opposing party) saying that the orders issued by the Constitutional Court of Uganda were broad enough to cover the Applicant’s complains before it at the ex-parte stage and that it’s the enforcement of the said orders that the Applicants should pursue in the interim, rather than seek a re-issuing of the same orders by the EACJ without hearing the Respondent. “We say so guardedly and without in any way making a determinate finding on the merits of the Applicants’ case at the inter-partes stage (all parties in the case) hearing the Respondent” said the Court.

On 8th May 2013, the Applicants had obtained orders in Petition No.12 of 2013 at the Constitutional Court in Uganda, in which the Respondent (Government of Uganda) was prohibited from using the processes of any court, so as to initiate and prosecute the Applicants for any charges arising out of or in connection with the issues forming the subject matter of the criminal case mentioned earlier. The Constitutional Court also ordered that all pending charges and proceedings against the Applicant in the same criminal case No. 3 of 2013 be stayed.

The Application before EACJ was triggered by a letter dated 9th April 2018, requiring the Applicants to appear before the CID at Kibuli on 24th April 2018, to provide further information in the matter under investigation and facilitate the ongoing preparations for the hearing of the criminal case against them.

The Applicants were seeking ex-parte restraining orders directed at the Respondent (The Republic of Uganda) and its agencies, specifically the Uganda Police and any other security agency or department of the government of Uganda. The Applicant sought the following Court orders: That the summons issued on 9th April 2018, requiring the attendance of the Applicant before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to be interrogated or questioned in relation to criminal case No. 3 of 2018, in which the Applicants are accused persons, should not be implemented until the hearing of their Reference pending before this Court; other orders sought are in respect of restraining orders to stop the arrest of the Applicant they are being charged in any court and the reconstitution of any bench of the Constitutional Court of Uganda to re-fix for hearing de-novo (hearing the matter afresh) of the petition No. 3 of 2013, pending delivery of judgment by that Court.

The Applicants’ Lawyer said that after this Court (EACJ) issued the ruling on 24th April 2018, the Constitutional Court also delivered its long pending Judgment in favor of the Respondent (government of Uganda) hence the reason that has led to the amendment of the Application in order to address that Judgment by the Constitutional Court. Counsel for the Respondent did not oppose the application for amendment but requested to be given times to file their response because they had just been served with the amended Notice of Motion.

The Court (First Instance Division) therefore granted the parties a period of one month to file and serve their Affidavits and submissions in the Court Registry by (2nd July 2018) in order for the matter to be scheduled for hearing in the next session.

Counsels for the Applicant appearing were Mr Caleb Alaka & Mr Joseph Kyazze for the Applicants and for the Respondent were Ms Patricia Mutesi and Charity Nabaasa and Arinaitwe Goretti. The matter came up for hearing before Honorable Judges Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi (Principal Judge), Justice Isaac Lenaola (Deputy Principal Judge), Fakihi A .Jundu. Dr Faustin Ntezilyayo and Dr Charles Oyo Nyawello.