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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Good News: Serengeti Legal Case Going to Trial

The East African Court of Justice ruled against objections by the Tanzanian government and decided that the legal action against a proposed commercial highway across the Serengeti could proceed to a full trial.

A legal case was filed in December, 2010, in the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) by the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), a Kenyan nonprofit organization. It challenged the Tanzanian government's right to build a highway across the Serengeti National Park.

This case is significant in its own right, as it could stop future plans to build a commercial corridor (which might include a railway!) through the Serengeti ecosystem.

But the case is also significant for several other reasons:
• It was initiated completely by a local East African conservation organization, not a foreign NGO, government, or UN body.
• It operates within the legal framework of an East African court system designed expressly to deal with such issues.
• It is a test of the power and jurisdiction of the EACJ to decide on transboundary issues within East Africa, especially those relating to conservation.

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