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OVERVIEW: JLOS Pilot Project to fast-track the disposal of SGBV Cases

JLOS with support from UNFPA is  piloting a project to fast-track the disposal of SGBV cases JLOS with support from UNFPA is piloting a project to fast-track the disposal of SGBV cases


The Justice, Law and Order Sector is implementing a pilot project to dispose of SGBV cases through special sessions in select sites to feed into government’s efforts and commitments to promote and protect the rights of women and children who are the main victims of GBV as elaborated under the Elimination of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Policy of 2017. 

The purpose of the sessions is to test or pilot the possibility of establishing a specialised mechanism to try cases of SGBV, which are some of the fastest growing offences in Uganda and a threat to the initiative of the government of Uganda to promote the girl child and to eliminate discrimination against women generally. The sessions are also being organised as part of the government’s commitment under the Maputo Declaration on Gender Mainstreaming and the effective Mainstreaming and the Effective Participation of Women in African Union; the Kampala Declaration on the fight against SGBV in the Great Lakes Region, (2011); and the sustainable Development Goals 5 which have prioritized elimination of gender inequality and SGBV.  

The project also feeds into JLOS initiatives to ensure that its services and programmes are gender and equity sensitive. It is one such affirmative action measure that is intended to create a justice system that is responsive to all people in Uganda. The pilot will feed into the Sector Case backlog Reduction Strategy which seeks to enhance access to justice through fast and equitable disposal of cases. 

As a precursor to the pilot, justice actors were brought together in the planning and implementation of the project to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to handling of cases in order to not only reduce SGBV case backlog by fast tracking case disposal but also to enhance access to justice services for the survivors of SGBV. The pilot will be used as a platform to inform a catalogue of best practices to be applied in dealing with GBV cases at the yet to be created special division and ultimately contribute to implementation of the sector Case Backlog Reduction Strategy of 2017.

A pre- session training and experience sharing session to equip the justice actors on handling of GBV cases, development of simplified procedures or evidence requirements to promote speedy and victim friendly procedures, and development of resource materials with the latest best practices on management of SGBV cases has also been undertaken. 

A number of jurisdictions such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, UK and the USA have established special courts with results such as enhanced access to justice for women and children, speedy and successful completion of cases, improved conviction rates, reduction of case backlog, and improved confidence in the judicial system in those nations. 

The sessions will entail handling of GBV cases at specific locations at High Court and Chief Magistrate level. Working with the office of the Registrars and the prisons, cause-lists mainly based on the First In, First Out (FIFO) rule have been drawn for the cases to be heard. Specific judicial officers including Magistrates and Judges have been assigned to hear the cases which are scheduled to take place for a period of 40 days to dispose 50 cases per session. The project will target 13 sessions of 50 cases at High Court and Chief Magistrates level.  The pilot courts are: Soroti, Mbale, Moroto, Gulu, Mukono, Masaka, Bushenyi and Kampala (High courts) and Nabweru, Iganga, Lira, Sironko and Kapchorwa (Chief Magistrate’s Courts). Consideration has been given to statistics and equity to inform the selection of project areas to inform holistic and comprehensive best practices and lessons. 

The project will facilitate expeditious disposal of cases in a gender responsive and victim friendly manner to advance access to justice for survivors and improve the experience of the survivors in the justice system; reduce backlog of SGBV cases; enhance collaboration and strategic partnership between the justice actors and key stakeholders; improve provision of related services for victims/survivors of GBV and enhanced information sharing between litigants, judges, attorneys, victims and community members.

Publicity and information sharing activities have already commenced to ensure the needed information and knowledge of SGBV is availed to the public to facilitate appropriate responses to issues of SGBV. It is hoped that this will build more confidence in the justice system and improve access to justice.

The project is also focusing on improving justice outcomes for victims by ensuring that Victim Impact Statements (VIS) as provided for under S.55 (3) of the Sentencing Guidelines of 2013 are availed for all the victims. The objective of the VIS is to ensure that victim input is accounted for during sentencing and prior to any hearing relevant to the offenders release or other form of sentence The VIS which has been a neglected aspect of the criminal justice system in getting the full detail of what impact a particular crime has had on a victim is a written document. Under this activity, a training of all Probation and Social Welfare Officers from the pilot has undertaken on the sensitivities of collecting information on the impact of crime on victims. 


A coordinated and collaborative approach among all the key stakeholders is at the centre of this project.


For more information on the SGBV Pilot, contact the JLOS Secretariat