Uganda’s denial of entry and deportation of a Kenyan two years ago was illegal, unlawful and a breach of the its obligation to the East Africa Community Treaty, a regional court has ruled.
The East African Court of Justice Monday held that Kampala’s move to block Mr Samwel Mukira from entering the country without according him the due process of law was in breach of its obligations under Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty.
Mr Mukira accused Ugandan authorities of arresting and detaining him at Entebbe International Airport on April 13, 2011 when he went to meet Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki as part of a 14-member-delegation of ICJ-Kenya.
“The actions of denial of entry, detention, removal and return of the applicant, a citizen of a partner State, to the Republic of Kenya were illegal, unlawful and in violation of his rights under Articles 104 of the Treaty and 7 of the Common Market Protocol,” a three-judge bench ruled in Arusha.
Justices Johnston Busingye, John Mkwawa and Isaac Lenaola said a country’s sovereignty could not act as a defence or justification for non-compliance, and neither can it be a restraint or impediment to compliance to rules governing the treaty.
Mr Mukira said on arrival at Entebbe airport, he was not allowed beyond the immigration checkpoint.
He was subsequently served with a copy of a “Notice to Return or Convey Prohibited Immigrant” and later on the day put on a Nairobi-bound Kenya Airways flight and returned to Kenya.
He claimed that the immigration authorities did not inform him, verbally or in writing, why he had been denied entry as well as why he had been declared a prohibited immigrant and subsequently returned to Kenya.
He sought a declaration that the denial of his entry into Uganda, without Treaty based reasons, was illegal, unlawful and a breach of Uganda’s obligations under Articles 104 of the Treaty and 7 of the Protocol.