Anti Homosexuality Act Case: East African Court dismisses two amicus curiae applications
On 17th February 2015, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) dismissed the applications filed by East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative (UHAI EASHRI) and the Health Development Initiative- Rwanda (HDI) to join the reference filed by Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) on behalf of the Coalition challenging sections of the nullified Anti-Homosexuality Act.
This was on the basis that HDI did not have ‘interest’ in the matter since its founding documents restrict it to work in only Rwanda and yet the AHA is a strictly Uganda law applicable only in Uganda. UHAI EASHRI was found to have ‘interest’ in the matter since their founding documents allow them to work in the whole region, but their application too was dismissed because they could not be ‘neutral’ since they have a partisan interest in the matter.
As regards contribution to jurisprudence, which is also an important aim of this kind of litigation, the ruling helps to clarify the EACJ’s stand on the issue of ‘interest’ and ‘neutrality’ as regards those who want to be amicus curiae. It also makes an interesting distinction between amicus curiae and intervenors, which will go a long way in helping third parties to determine the best way to contribute to a case. The case also makes a clarification that the locus required to bring a reference is not necessarily the same as that required for one to join as an amicus curiae or an intervenor.