Serengeti road case in court

The submission of arguments for and against a permanent injunction on the construction of the Serengeti highway have now been made to the East African Court of Justice. The court has not yet set a time for the ruling.

Although fierce international opposition forced the Tanzanian government to modify its original plans for a tarmac highway running through the park from east to west, the government still hopes that it can build some sort of road across the Serengeti, one of the most famous wild life parks in east Africa.

Those who are asking for a permanent injunction, led by the African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), have argued that the construction of a road through the park would have a negative impact on the migration of animals – especially wildebeest – would upset the eco-system and that it is against the treaty provisions of the East African Community. The Tanzanian government argues that the court has no jurisdiction in this case because the protocols in the treaty setting up the East African Community concerning the environment have not been ratified. One of the countries that has stalled on ratification is Tanzania.

The court, which was set up in 1999, has its temporary headquarters in Arusha, close to the Serengeti.

The ANAW is a pan-African organisation based in Kenya to promote the humane treatment of animals and the well being of communities where they live. ANAW won a case last year to prevent the construction of a road through a section of Nairobi National Park until it complies with all legislative and environmental regulations.

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