Tanzania loses battle over Serengeti road

Horde of Antilopes in a lake

Mar 20, 2012

Tanzania’s appeal to block a case against the construction of a “super highway” across the Serengeti National Park was dismissed on Thursday 15 March by the East African Court of Justice.

Tanzania’s appeal to block a case against the construction of a “super highway” across the Serengeti National Park was dismissed on Thursday 15.March by the East African Court of Justice.

It was argued that any legal dispute on the Serengeti National Park should be handled by the country’s courts as the park was within Tanzania’s borders and managed locally. But the objection was dismissed and EACJ has full jurisdiction to hear the case because the park was part of the transnational ecosystem straddling Kenya and Tanzania.

The case was filed by the Nairobi-based non-governmental organisation African Network for Animal Welfare (Anaw) in December 2010 against the road project across the park. It was set to be heard at the First Instance Division of EACJ before Tanzania’s attorney-general objection to the hearing last year. “The court has jurisdiction to hear environment disputes which directly affect the ecosystem and touch on the sustainable utilisation of the natural resources, including terrestrial ecosystems,” said judge James Ogola.

Experts say Tanzania’s plans to construct a super highway through the Serengeti National park would destroy the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and would be hazardous to animals.

The main case will start any time.