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Court asked to expedite Rwanda border closure case

FILE PHOTO: Uganda-Rwanda border still closed.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ugandan lawyer Steven Kalali who is challenging Rwanda’s actions of closing its Gatuna border has petitioned the East African Court of Justice demanding for a speedy hearing.

In his petition, Kalali states that he filed his case in April 2019 and in May 2019; Rwanda was able to file its reply to his case.

“The above matter touches the spirit of the East African Community and there is still on-going impasse at the border points and continued violation of the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the partner states”, reads his petition in part.

It adds, “This serves to pray that the above matter be cause listed and set down for conferencing in the on-going court session so that justice can be administered.”

In April 2019 Kalali dragged Rwanda to the East African Court of Justice arguing that the actions of Rwanda by closing its border in February this year have infringed on the rights and freedoms of its people, and those in neighbouring countries.

He added that its actions have since caused financial loss to hundreds of traders. He thus demanded an order by the courts declaring the border closure as illegal citing that it contravenes the East African treaty which Rwanda is a signatory.

Last month, Rwanda through her senior State Attorney Nicholas Ntarugera filed its defence in the matter. Rwanda argues that the border was closed for a number of reasons including protection of their citizens from going to Uganda after allegations of sensing danger.

They that the closure of the border was to expedite the one stop order Post construction which is still on going with an aim of facilitating smooth floor of goods and services at the Border Post.

Rwanda further alleges that the EAC citizens were officially informed about the decision to close the border through the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority-RRA, Bizimana Ruganintwali.

On June 21st, 2019, women traders operating in Rwanda and Uganda under three civil society organizations also sued the two governments demanding to be compensated for losses they have incurred.

They are East African Sub-Regional Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI), Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) and Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROTH).  Their case has also not yet been fixed for hearing.

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