Regional law body sues EAC over treaty violation

Friday January 24 2020

 

By Zephania Ubwani @TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Arusha. The East African Law Society, has sued the East African Community (EAC) for alleged violation of the Treaty that created the six nation regional bloc.

The Council of Ministers, which is the policy organ of the Community, is accused of persistently violating the Treaty contrary to the rule of law.

Alleged violations of the Treaty include holding meetings, passing resolutions and making important decisions without the involvement of the Attorneys General from the member countries.

This, according to a suit filed on Thursday at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), was contrary to the spirit of Article 13 of the EAC Treaty.

The Article is explicit that the Council of Ministers shall comprise ministers responsible for EAC Affairs, any other minister that a partner state may determine and the AG from each state.

"Our case is that the Council has failed in this aspect. The Council of Ministers has persistently violated the Treaty", said Hanningtone Amol, the EALS chief executive officer.

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He said holding  regional meetings "without the involvement of Attorneys General" led to delays in realization of objectives of the Treaty "and brought conflicts and confusion in the integration processes".

Mr. Amol added that conducting meetings without quorum and purporting to make binding resolutions was a stark reality that the Treaty, a document that guides the EAC operations, was being violated.

The EAC secretariat is also being accused of creating an institution named the  Ad Hoc Service Commission, to undertake the work of human resource and administration.

The suit by EALS, the Arusha-based premier bar association in the region with observer status to EAC, insists  the  Ad Hoc Commission has not been properly established by the EA  Heads of State through the Summit.

"Consequently, we are seeking orders that all decisions that the Council of Ministers has made in violation of the Treaty, especially those relating to its 39th Meeting held in November 2019 be nullified", the suit whose copy was availed to The Citizen said.

Besides non-involvement of the AGs, the EAC secretariat has also been criticized for failure by its Legal and Judicial Affairs sectoral council to approve draft laws proposed to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).

The latter (Legal and Judicial Affairs sectoral council) comprises regional AGs, Solicitors General, and ministers responsible for judicial and constitutional affairs.

Draft laws must be scrutinized and accepted by the team before submission to the regional parliament for tabling,debate and enactment..