Home Green Energy EACOP: East African Court of Justice to hear arguments on court’s jurisdiction

EACOP: East African Court of Justice to hear arguments on court’s jurisdiction

The applicants also applied for a temporary injunction to stop the construction of the EACOP until the questions of environmental, social justice, and climate justice concerns raised in the case are heard and determined. This application is yet to be determined by the Court.

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Many financial firms have ruled out support for Uganda's East African Crude Oil Pipeline
Many financial firms have ruled out support for Uganda's East African Crude Oil Pipeline

Tomorrow, 5 April 2023, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) will hear arguments for and against the objection to the court’s jurisdiction filed by Secretary General of the East African Community, the Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Uganda in response to the case challenging the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) until the questions of environmental, social justice, and climate justice concerns raised in the case are heard and determined. 

On 6 November, 2020, Natural Justice, Centre for Strategic Litigation, the Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) Limited, and Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) filed a case against the governments of Uganda and Tanzania and the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), challenging the construction of the EACOP at the EACJ. The applicants also applied for a temporary injunction to stop the construction of the EACOP until the questions of environmental, social justice, and climate justice concerns raised in the case are heard and determined. This application is yet to be determined by the Court.

The Applicants’ case is premised on grounds that the EACOP project contravenes various provisions of the the treaty of the East African Community; the Protocol for the Sustainable Management of the Lake Victoria Basin; the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights; the African Convention on Conservation of Natural Resources; the post-2020 Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Climate Accords. Moreover the applicants contend that the project proponents, including French oil giant Total Energies, China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation, and the states of Uganda and Tanzania did not conduct effective and meaningful public participation and consultation, and neither did they conduct both human rights and climate impact assessments before the commencement of the EACOP project. 

If the preliminary objection on the court’s jurisdiction is successful, the case shall be dismissed, and if the court determines that it has jurisdiction, then the matter shall proceed, and will be heard on merits.

“Given continuing community concerns and the emerging science from the IPCC on worsening climate impacts on vulnerable countries, we hope the court will make a swift determination and consider this important case on its merits.” said Mark Odaga, Attorney, Natural Justice.

Diana Nabiruma, Senior Communications Officer, AFIEG said: “EACOP- and Tilenga-affected communities in Uganda were disappointed in February 2023 when the French courts dismissed the duty of vigilance case against TotalEnergies without hearing the case on its merits. Today, their hope lies with the judges at the EACJ and we remain hopeful that the court will dispense justice.” said Diana Nabiruma, Senior Communications Officer, AFIEG

“Our concern lies with the communities who have been subjected to human rights violations and abuses before the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) has begun. This, coupled with the potential dangers of EACOP to livelihood and biodiversity across the region, requires a swift and just resolution of this matter. A favourable ruling would send a strong message to financiers and investors that relentless profiteering and extraction, at the expense of human rights, substantive freedoms and sustainability, will not go unchallenged in Africa.” said Zaki Mamdoo, StopEACOP Campaign Coordinator.

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