Judgment in Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act Case at the EACJ to be delivered on 27th September
Judgment in the case where HRAPF is challenging certain provisions of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2016 at the East African Court of Justice will be delivered on 27th September at 9.00am at the Court in Arusha.
The case is Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) v Attorney General of Uganda, Reference No. 6 of 2014. It challenges the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 with the following provisions: section 5(1) on the immunity of ‘victims’ of homosexuality from trial for any offence committed when ‘protecting’ themselves against homosexuality; section 7 on aiding and abetting homosexuality; and section 13 (1)(b) (c) (d) and (e) on promotion of homosexuality. HRAPF contends that the enactment of this law with these provisions was in violation of Articles 6(d), 7(2) and 8(1)(c) of the East African Community Treaty which provisions enjoin partner states to govern their populace on the principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, social justice and maintenance of universally accepted standards of human rights.
HRAPF argues that the AHA should not have been passed at all with these provisions which were overly broad, promoted impunity, penalised legitimate debate, impeded HIV-related service provision and health services and promoted homophobia and stigma for the time that the Act was in force.
The case came up fro hearing on 16th June 2016. It focused largely on the effect of the nullification of the law on the case. This was raised as a preliminary objection by the Attorney General. The Attorney General contended that since the AHA was nullified by a competent court of a member state of the East African Community, the subject matter of the case had ceased to exist and the case was therefore moot. To this, HRAPF responded that the matter was a live one, for the nullification of the Act did not take away the fact that the Act was passed with provisions that violated the East African Community Treaty, and that during the period when it was in force, violations were committed under these specific provisions. In addition, the members of Parliament who had sponsored the original Bill were given leave of Parliament to allow them time to prepare to re-table the Bill.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was permitted to file submissions as a friend of the court and they raised concerns as to the effect of such laws on the fight against HIV/AIDS globally.
HRAPF looks forward to a positive judgment.