The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

East African Court dismisses Juba Airport City Park case against South Sudan

The First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, has dismissed the land case filed against the South Sudan government by the Juba Airport City Park.

In the matter with Reference Number 17 of 2020, the Applicant, Juba Airport City Park Limited dragged the Attorney General of the Republic of South Sudan, to the East African Court contesting the Government over alleged illegal expropriation of land.

According to the plaintiff, the plot measuring 886,555 square meters was grabbed without the Applicant’s consent and the ownership transferred, to the United Nations Mission (UNMISS).

The petitioner claims that the move goes contrary to the Treaty of the East African Community.

However, the court in its ruling held that, it has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter because it was filed out of time as prescribed under article 30 (2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

Article 30 (2) states that ‘The proceedings provided for in this Article shall be instituted within two months of the enactment, publication, directive, decision or action complained of, or in the absence thereof, of the day in which it came to the knowledge of the complainant, as the case may be.’

In its determination, the Court added that, it does not have requisite jurisdiction to deal with issues that arose before a Respondent became a member of the Community.

The Republic of South Sudan was admitted to the East African Community in 2016.

The impugned acts appear to have taken place before or in 2011, which is not within the jurisdiction of this Court to impugn acts or omissions of a State which occurred before it became a party to the Community and the Reference was filed in June 2020.

It was the court’s conclusion that the Applicant was aware of the impugned acts since 2011 when the Respondent (South Sudan), pursuant to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), extended the tenure of UNMISS in the suit land.

That the Applicant was also aware that even after 5 years, in 2016, the land was never handed back to it. The court hence dismissed the matter with no orders to costs.

The Applicant was represented by Counsel Stephen Nelson and the Applicant’s representative Eng. Samuel Tabani Youziel was present in court. The Attorney General of South Sudan (Respondent) was represented by Counsel Biong Pieng Kol.

Juba Airport City Park, an Enterprise Economic Zone (EEZ) located near Juba International Airport is a public private partnership (PPP) by the Government of South Sudan, Central Equatoria State and Private sector. 

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