A panel of five judges; Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, Elizabeth Musoke, Cheborion Barishaki, Muzamiru Kibeedi and Irene Mulyagonja unanimously ruled that the Batwa had an interest in their ancestral lands from which they were evicted without adequate compensation.
“…. the Batwa have been left disadvantaged, owing to their eviction from the said land, and also due to the nonpayment to them of adequate compensation which would have facilitated their relocation to similar lands. This has rendered them landless and has severely affected not only their livelihoods but has destroyed their identity, dignity and self-worth as a people and as equal citizens with other Ugandans,” Justice Elizabeth Musoke ruled in the lead judgment.
“I reiterate that the Batwa are a group of individuals who have been marginalized on the basis of historical reasons following their eviction from the relevant lands without adequate compensation being paid to them. I find that no adequate compensation was paid to the Batwa despite the fact that some monies were paid in about 1991,” Justice Musoke observed.
The judge said that Article 32(1) requires that state to put in place measures aimed at ensuring marginalized persons or groups of persons, just like other citizens feel secure and confident that they are recognized in society as human beings.
The Batwa lived in the now ‘environmentally protected’ areas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Echuya Central Forest Reserve.
Onyango & Company Advocates represented the petitioners United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) and eleven individuals including Elias Habyarimana, Jovanis Nyiragasigwa, Christopher Kagundu, Night Isabela, Eric Tumuheirwe, Abel Kasumba, Abe Ruzuga, David Kakuru, Geoffrey Mahano, Alice Nyamihanda and Allen Musabyi.
You can find the detailed judgement linked below.