Serengeti Highway Court Appeal Goes Toward Final Decision

Wildeveest_GavelThe East African Court of Justice ruled against Tanzania’s plan to build a paved highway across the northern Serengeti. Now under appeal, this decision is facing the following challenges:

1. The road was just a proposal, that the court shouldn’t have decided on something that was not actually planned. The reply: this point was never ever raised in the previous our years of the trial; the other side is trying to reinvent its case.

2. The court can’t enforce the East African Community Treaty until all protocols are decided and signed. In other words, the court doesn’t have any authority. The reply: had this been the case, the EAC Treaty would have clearly and explicitly spelled this out.

3.  The international treaties cited in the case have nothing to do with this case and have their own methods of dealing with their signatories. The reply: this point doesn’t matter at all as the lower court decision didn’t even decide on the basis of these treaties.

4. The court doesn’t have the power to grant permanent injunctions, as this wasn’t spelled out in the EAC Treaty. The reply: all judicial bodies have this power inherently given to them. It doesn’t have to be spelled out. It would be absurd to set up a court and deny them the power of injunction, a remedy that all courts have.

Our view: None of the arguments have any merit. In fact, they challenge the court’s jurisdiction and power over East African Community members. Tanzania should think ahead, it may want to use the court in the future for its own vital interests, especially regarding shared water resources.