Litigating Human Rights Through the East African Court of Justice: Overview and Challenges

Tasco R. Luambano


The East African Community (EAC) is one among the sub-Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the African region which aimed at fostering regional economic development. The EAC as the RECs in Africa is established under the EAC Treaty, 1999.  Currently the community is comprised of six partner states.[1] The partner states are; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and  Uganda.[2] Among other things, the EAC  treaty embraces protection and promotion of human rights. It encourages partner states to protect and promote human rights. To achieve objectives of the EAC, there are organs of the community. The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) is one of the key organs mandated to adjudicate cases pertaining to the interpretation of the treaty. This paper intends to present a discussion of challenges undermining effectiveness of the EACJ in protecting and promoting human rights to EAC partner states. The basis of the discussion is that the EACJ is not effective in protecting human rights. It is hampered by a number of challenges in protecting and promoting human rights in the EAC Partner States. This paper presents challenges of the EACJ in terms of; jurisdiction, administration, inadequate funding, operational and the existing  mixed legal system of the EAC Partner States.[3]


[1] The treaty of 30th November, 1999 which came into force on 7th July 2000. The treaty was also amended on 14th December 2006 and 20th August, 2007.

[2] See Accessed 23rd August, 2017. South Sudan acceded to the treaty on April, 2016.

[3] See Article 5 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.

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