Overview of Sector Performance (FY 2014/15)
The Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) Annual Report 2014/15, provides information on the performance of the Sector for Financial Year 2014/15. The outputs, their indicators and associated targets, and actions outlined in FY2014/15 sector work plan and budget are used as the framework for the analysis
After a two-year wait, the Sector has a substantive Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice. As a sector we believe that with the sector leadership now fully constituted we are on the road to takeoff. We have high hopes that we shall now score more highly in public trust as well as independence of our judicial processes.
Sector institutions were involved in legal reform and drafting of legislation with many such Bills now before Parliament. However the increasing enlightenment of society has generated greater debate on legal and policy issues. This has come with an increased need for consultation on all laws proposed and has not only increased cost of law reform in money terms but time as well.
The sector also record breaking recruitments in crime fighting agencies such as, UPF with 4,906 Probationary Police Constables and 728 cadets passed out while 3,500 police constables and 500 cadets are training at PTS Kabalye, UPS with 1,250 Prison Warders and Wardresses admitted and commissioned and the DPP with over 90 state attorneys recruited.
The sector now has a complete chain of frontline JLOS service points operating from own buildings in 53.6% of the districts. However following poor performance of the sector budget this financial year, there was stagnation in new construction projects and if funding does not improve in the coming financial year we are likely to fall behind in the percentage coverage of districts. This is likely to be further compounded by the creation of new districts.
JLOS agencies involved in the fight against crime are commended, for effectively managing to keep the levels of crime low and enhancing the speed of disposal of criminal cases, arising out of the enhanced capacity to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate cases as well as rehabilitation of inmates. This is exemplified by the high conviction rates, standing at about 64%, reducing rates of recidivism and increased disposal rate of cases, which now stands at 95.8% if taken as a proportion of cases registered over the same time period. Our challenge is growth in organized and violent crime, leading to prolific and high profile murders that have claimed the lives of innocent Ugandans. In the reporting period, plea bargaining was piloted targeting persons who were committed for trial in the High Court. This intervention is commended for reducing overstay on remand for capital offenders to 10.5 months over the reporting period as well as the reduction in the committed population and remand prisoners from 56% to 54%.
Arua Remand home is now finally operational, reducing the burden on the districts in West Nile that had to remand juveniles in Kampala or Gulu, leading to miscarriage of justice since many such cases would be dismissed for failure to deliver suspects to court. However given the investment and the capacity of the remand home, there is need for review of its operations such that it serves as both a remand home and a rehabilitation centre for juveniles sentenced to rehabilitation in Kampiringisa.
The sector is on course to eliminate the bucket system in places of detention with a critical focus on the Prison Service. With investments made earlier and commitment to fund 40 other such prison sanitation projects we have now achieved 76%.
The UHRC annual report 2014/15 shows an 11% reduction in complaints of alleged human rights complaints against the UPF. This is testimony that continued civic education as well as sensitization of duty bearers, has positive impact on the deepening of the human rights culture in the sector.
The Anti-Corruption Court is now fully operational following the resolution of the Constitutional challenge to its operations. In the reporting period according to statistics from the Judiciary CAAS, the number of cases disposed as a proportion of those filed, increased from 45% in 2013/14 to now 124% in the reporting period.
Arua Remand home is now finally operational, reducing the burden on the districts in West Nile that had to remand juveniles in Kampala or Gulu. This is will reduce the resulting miscarriage of justice since many such cases would previously be dismissed for failure to deliver suspects to court.
The sector has now taken a leap forward and rolled out ADR in other focus areas such as family, land and other civil matters both in Judicial and quasi-judicial institutions. This is critical for improved delivery of justice.
Improvements have been recorded in financial management, with growing absorption rates as well as higher fiduciary discipline. The number of sector institutions returning clean audits in FY2013/14 grew 7 fold and the SWAP fund also returned a clean audit.
DCIC made significant progress in implementation of the National ID project, especially the mass enrolment and issuance of National IDs. Currently out of the over 18 million persons enrolled over 6 million have already received their National Identity Cards.
The above achievements not withstanding there is need for massive publicity calling upon those registered to pick up their national IDs and for the creation of permanent centres where this exercise is undertaken.
Secondly the sector must address the challenge arising out of the fact that most JLOS service points save for policing, are largely urban based and at district headquarters. The sector must go down to the county and sub-county levels. There is need to fast track the rationalization of magisterial areas and recruit more Magistrates Grade I to replace Magistrates Grade II that are being phased out so that a vacuum is not created by their departure. Such a vacuum may lead to people resorting to shortcuts such as mob justice to achieve their own mode of justice. Government is called upon to address the continued non functionality of LC Courts I and II.
The state of infrastructure and land ownership in former Local Administration Prisons (LAP) has to some extent delayed implementation of programmes to improve some of the prison units.
The efforts of the UPF are commended but there is need to address the continued non-compliance with the 48 hour rule which features highly among the complaints lodged in the UHRC.
To promote the fight against corruption the sector must de-concentrate the anti-corruption court to ensure that it is not a Kampala preserve that increases operational costs of other JLOS institutions that service the court.
Given the investment and the capacity of the remand homes, there is need for review of s operations such that they serve as both a remand home and a rehabilitation centre for juveniles sentenced to rehabilitation in Kampiringisa.
[Extracted from the JLOS Annual Performance Report 2014/15]