Uganda and Tanzania signed the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project intergovernmental agreements on the 11th day of September 2020 to transport crude oil from Kabaale Pumping Station, Hoima District, Uganda to Chongoleani, and Tanga District on the East African coast of Tanzania. And several other agreements have been signed henceforth.  

Both countries conducted environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA) for their respective countries. While the ESIA conducted for Tanzania had been approved by its National Environment Management Council, the ESIA conducted for Uganda has not yet been approved by its National Environmental Management Authority. At the same time there is no joint ESIA done to assess the impact of the project in the East African Region. 

The project is anticipated to have a widespread impact throughout East Africa. There have been ongoing advocacy efforts, however, taking into account the significant investments made on the project in Tanzania, coalition of Civil Societies based in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya agreed it would be important to undertake an effort at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to ensure that the project does meet international human rights standards and best practices.

In that regard, Center for Strategic Litigation (CSL), together with other four organizations from Kenya and Uganda, has filed the above noted Reference before the East African Court of Justice challenging the signing of the EACOP Project Host Government Agreements and the Inter-governmental Agreement without an approved Certificate of approval for the project, signing the agreements by the 1st and 2nd Respondents without the submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment to the Secretary General for the East African Community and approval of the Council of Ministers and the execution of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline through protected spaces. Applicants state that those acts violate the provisions of Articles 5 (3)(a), (c) & (3) , 6 (d), 7 (1) (a), (d) & (2) , 8 (1) (c) & (4) , 23 , 27(1) , 30 , 39 , 101(1), (2)(e) & (f), 105(1)(c), 110(d), 111, 112, 114 (1) & (2), 116, 120 (a) & (c), 121(a), 130(1), 151(4)of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and Articles 2, 3, 4, 6, (a), (e), (C), 12 and 13 of The Protocol for Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin to the EAC Treaty.

Applicants further state that the Secretary General for the East African Community has failed to discharge its obligations of undertaking, whether on his own initiative or otherwise of such investigations, collection of information or verification of matters affecting the community that appears to merit examination contrary to Article 71(1) (d) of the EAC Treaty. 

The matter is still pending at the East African Court of Justice and is coming up in July 2021 for hearing of the temporary injunction.