You are here: HomeServices & InformationPress and MediaLatest NewsDisplaying items by tag: Judiciary
Thursday, 31 August 2017 08:29

Chief Registrar Enrolls 80 Advocates

 

KAMPALA: Despite the country-wide industrial action by judicial officers over welfare issues, the Chief Registrar, Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa, on Friday(August 25) enrolled over 80 new advocates at the High Court in Kampala.

This is one of the biggest groups of new advocates ever to be enrolled at the same time in Judiciary’s history.

Mr. Gadenya congratulated the newly enrolled advocates for having successfully completed their undergraduate and postgraduate career in law, “which if practiced well can be very rewarding.”

“You must observe the highest degree of integrity, professionalism and imparliality as officers of court. Clients will only trust you with their cases only if you are men and women of integrity,” said Mr. Gadenya.

He further cautioned the newly enrolled advocates that their first duty is to the court, to ensure that justice is not only done but seen done. “Sometimes, counsel’s duty to court may be in conflict with his duty to the clients. In such circumstances, counsel’s duty to court takes precedence” he said.

The Chief Registrar called for the bridging of the gap between the law and the public, urging the advocates to continually teach and sensitise the public and students about the law as well as offering pro-bono services to indigent litigants.

The new attorneys were further urged to prepare cases well to assist the courts to expeditiously resolve cases and eliminate case backlog. “Value working a lasting legacy in law by promoting the highest standards of legal practice founded in honesty, intergrity professionalism,” said Mr. Gadenya. The Chief Registrar said the Judiciary is doing everything possible to ensure that the courts remain open as negotiations for improved terms and conditions of judicial officers go on.

 

SOURCE: The Judiciary | Published: September 1, 2017

Published in Latest News

 

The Judiciary has responded to Daily Monitor’s editorial on July 19 2017 on page 16 titled: “Judiciary should abolish vacation for its officers”. In a press release issued by the recently appointed Public Relations Officer H.W Vincent Emmy Mugabo and circulated to the media on July 20 2017, the Judiciary characterized the content of the editorial as “misleading”.  “The Editorial is not only misleading, but it is devoid of basic facts about the workings of the Ugandan courts. It, in fact, paints a very disgraceful impression that our judicial officers do not work for nearly 200 days in a year", the statement reads.

 

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE

 

Published: July 20, 2017 / By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 09:50

High Court Judges Transferred

 

 [DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE]

 

KAMPALA: High Court Judge, Wilson Masalu Musene, who has been head of Criminal Division has been transferred to the new High Court Circuit in Mpigi.

The Principal Judge, Dr Yorokamu Bamwine, in an Administrative Circular on November 29, also transferred Justice John Wilson Kwesiga as head of High Court Land Division to now head the Criminal Division.

Justice Dr. Andrew Bashaija who has been deputising Justice Kwesiga in the Land Division has now been elevated to head the Land Division.

“Further to my administrative circular No. 1 of 2016 and in consultation with the Hon. Chief Justice, adjustments are hereby made in staff deployments for more effective delivery of service,” Dr. Bamwine said in the Circular. 

“The re-deployments are with immediate effect, subject of course to the usual completion of all partly heard cases in advanced stage at the old station.”

The Circular further names Justice Godfrey Namundi the new deputy Head of the Land Division. Justice Elizabeth Kibula Kabanda, who has been caretaker judge of the Mpigi Circuit, returns to the Criminal and Family Divisions of the High Court.

“The Secretary to the Judiciary and the Registrar High Court are by copy hereof requested to note the re-deployments and facilitate easy and smooth movements of the affected staff,” said the Principal Judge in the Circular.

Mpigi is one of the recent High Court Circuit creations, together with Mubende, Mukono, Iganga, Tororo, Rukungiri, Hoima, and Luwero, in addition to the existing Circuits of Jinja, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Arua, Masindi, Fort Portal, Mbarara, Kabale and Masaka.

The High Court operates in Kampala through High Court Divisions namely: Criminal, Civil, Land, Commercial, Family, Anti-Corruption, International Crimes, and the Executions and Bailiffs.

 

Published: November 30 2016

Published in Latest News

 

MUNYONYO - The Prime Minister, Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda on November 1 2016 opened the 13th East African Magistrates and Judges Conference (EAMJA) at Speke Resort Munyonyo. This conference is being hosted by the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) under the auspices of the Judiciary in partnership with the Justice, Law and Order Sector. The three day conference is running under the theme: "Transformation of Judiciaries in East Africa for Improved Service Delivery". Delegates from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Lesotho, Zanzibar and the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA) are in attendance.

 

[Below is a full transcript of Hon. Rugunda's speech:]

 

My Lord the Chief Justice of Uganda,

My Lords the visiting Chief Justices,

My Lord the Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda,

My Lord the Principal Judge of Uganda,

My Lords the Justices and Judges present,

The President of the East African Magistrates and Judges Association,

Your Worships,

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my pleasure and joy to be with you on this auspicious occasion and welcome you to this important conference of East African Magistrates’ and Judges’ Conference. To our visitors from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, South Africa and the United Kingdom, I say Karibuni to the pearl of Africa.

I congratulate the Chief Justice of Uganda, the Ugandan Judiciary and the people of Uganda at large, for once again hosting the East African Magistrates’ and Judges’ Conference. I am especially gratified to see that the Judiciaries of East Africa are doing their part in fostering linkages and partnerships amongst themselves in the true spirit of regional integration. 

My Lords, ladies and Gentlemen, your theme of Transformation of Judiciaries in East Africa for Improved Service Delivery: Successes, Challenges and Strategies, is well suited to not only mentally transform East African judicial system, but also to firmly put our justice system in the centre of service delivery for our people. Challenges notwithstanding, we will continue to leverage on the recent innovations in ICT to expeditiously dispense justice to all the parties concerned.

Today as you seek to share experiences toward inching further up the road to transformation, let me share a few thoughts to bear in mind as you continue your deliberations.

Trade is the cornerstone of regional integration. Intra East African Trade has significantly increased since the coming into force of the Treaty re-establishing the East African Community in 2000. The East African Common Market Protocol seeks to remove barriers to trade by providing the legislative environment for the free movement of labour, capital, goods and services in the region. Judiciaries of partner states are charged with the responsibility of implementation of the law. The question may arise as to when exactly this responsibility begins? 

Courts therefore, must endeavour to clear all the business before them promptly and in a business manner because any delay in the administration of justice holds the pace of integration.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it cannot be over emphasised that the Judiciary is indispensable in the transformation of society. As experience demonstrates, an excellent Judiciary is fundamental to democracy. In the recent past, the Judiciaries in the region have in record time, dealt with election petitions arising out of Presidential or Parliamentary Elections, demonstrating that there is a civilised way of handling disputes instead of taking up unconstitutional means to change Governments. 

Drawing from history again, the Judiciary has been at the centre of correcting century long injustices against humanity. Slavery was brought to its knees by courts. It is the Judiciary that came out strongly to protect the women, giving effect to equality of men and women. It is the Judiciary that dealt a blow to discrimination based on colour and race. The Judiciary has also been central to the development debate by ensuring that trade prospers in a climate of justice and full enjoyment of fundamental rights.

In this regard, therefore, Judiciary will be an integral factor in steering Uganda from a peasant society to a progressive and middle-income status by 2020.  Government is looking at the Judiciary to maintain stability and peace necessary for economic growth.  It is, therefore, a fact of life, that investing in Judiciaries is no longer a luxury but a necessary prerequisite for the transformation of individual partner states, and the region.

In this regard, we also salute you for embracing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the campaign against case backlog.

In spite of these glowing achievements, the pace of transformation in our Judiciaries remains work in progress. If we want to transform the Judiciary, we must pay attention to increasing public confidence, trust and satisfaction in the administration of justice.  Judiciaries must focus on cultivating judicial independence, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of service, and opening up courts to the poor and vulnerable, who feel excluded from the judicial process. Case backlog and delay of cases should be addressed urgently through timely disposal of cases and expanded capacity of specialized courts to deal with increasing number of cases.

Rules of Procedure, Court processes and policies should be structured around enabling the least served segments of the population to access court services, just like the privileged. Concierge services at the court, with fully staffed customer care staff points, should be employed to ease access, and make courtroom user experience memorable for all court users.

Corruption in our court systems must be addressed through bold and comprehensive interventions.  We should avoid cosmetic solutions by embracing revolutionary methods that address corruption from its roots. 

Automating judicial services must take centre stage in the modernisation and enhancement of service delivery.  Use of real time court recording systems, video conferencing and electronic presentation of evidence can greatly curtail the time trials take place in court as well as cutting out opportunistic corruption arising out of artificial delays. Let me however; caution you that automating justice is not a panacea for reform because machines depend on people and people using them.

Government also salutes legal aid service providers who labour to make free legal services available to the most vulnerable to enable them access our legal systems.  Investing in legal aid is a versatile weapon that Governments in the region can deploy to assist the poor and vulnerable persons to meaningfully access justice. As experience has shown elsewhere, offering a comprehensive legal aid not only reduces corruption and case backlog, but also produces better outcomes for the administration of justice.

Finally, transformation is nothing without the right people within the Judiciaries with the positive attitude towards administration of justice.  Public confidence in the Judiciary is largely determined by how the users of Judiciaries are treated during the course of seeking judicial redress. A Judiciary may be comprised of first class ICT systems, modern buildings, and adequate stationery, but if its human resource is apathetic, lazy, and corrupt, transformation will be impossible to achieve. 

Sufficient time and resources in the form of skill development, periodic performance enhancement, and suitable salaries should be invested in the staff to create a workforce that shall appropriately drive the vision for transformation to its logical conclusion.

With these remarks, it is my honour and pleasure to officially open the East African Magistrates and Judges Conference.

 

I thank you.

 

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda

PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA 

Published in Latest News

 

The Justice, Law and Order Sector on October 27 2016 held the 2016 edition of the JLOS Recognition Awards during the 21st Annual JLOS Review conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo. The Chief Justice presided over the ceremony.

Below is a list of recipients for the 2016 JLOS Recognition Awards.

 

THE JLOS EXCELLENCE AND QUALITY AWARD 

 

Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)

URSB has excelled in streamlining business registration processes through an on-line business name application solution installed to facilitate online name search and business name reservations.  Services such as name search, reservations and assessment of fees payable can now be processed in one day – an unprecedented achievement in Uganda. URSB’s excellence in service delivery is pivotal to Uganda’s improving ratings in global competitiveness and has significantly contributed to the doing business environment and improved the country’s prospects as a viable investment destination. 

 

THE JLOS INNOVATION AWARD 

 

Judiciary 

The Judiciary has been at the forefront of justice innovations over the years. The Judiciary recently launched the Audio-Visual Link project that makes it possible for courts to receive evidence by audio video link from witnesses who cannot appear in court due to infancy, old age, distance and costs. This technology innovation is an effective and cost effective enabler of access to justice for the vulnerable – a signature outcome of the JLOS Third Strategic Investment Plan.

 

THE JLOS CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD 

 

Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) 

URSB’s accomplishments in the area of customer service excellence exemplified by the recent establishment of a fully functioning call center and vibrant social media platforms, distinguish URSB's commitment to excellent customer service pivotal to Access to Justice. URSB continues to creatively engage with its clientele through people-oriented services that have transformed the Bureau into a key player and benchmark in efficient and effective service delivery.

 

Uganda Prisons Service

Uganda Prisons’ customer care approach evident in prison facilities across the country has positively changed the image of the Prisons service. 

 

THE JLOS HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER AWARD 

 

MR. Anatoli Muleterwa 

Mr. Anatoli Muletwerwa is champion of human rights awareness in the Uganda Police through sensitization of the public using various media platforms. His pro-people approach has earned him the nickname “omulwani w’dembe ryabantu (high rights defender)” from a popular radio talkshow “Police nomuntu wabuligyo”

ASP Muleterwa is a member of the Paralegal Services and head of community policing, Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP).

 

THE JLOS MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

 

National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA)

For the unprecedented and successful implementation of the National Identification Project.

 

THE JLOS PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MEDIA RELATIONS AWARD 

 

Judiciary

The Judiciary has over the last financial year carried out extensive public sensitization campaigns across the country through barazas, radio talkshows and open days on issues of plea-bargaining, Small claims procedures and other access to Justice issues. The Judiciary has during these sensitization campaigns partnered with other JLOS institutions as a demonstration of the sector-wide approach to access to justice.   Efforts of the Judiciary to reach out to the public are yielding fruits in positively changing negative perceptions about the Judiciary in the public domain.

 

THE JLOS MEDIA REPORTING AWARD 

 

MR. Anthony Wesaka  

Anthony Wesaka is a journalist with the Daily Monitor who specializes in reporting on justice, law and order issues. Mr. Wesaka has for the last eight years consistently and objectively covered groundbreaking news and feature stories in many JLOS institutions.

 

THE JLOS PARTNERSHIP AND COLLABORATION AWARD 

 

Legal Aid Service Provider’s Network (LASPNET)

LASPNET has constructively and consistently engaged with the Sector on issues of access to justice especially regarding advocacy on the Legal Aid Policy.  

 

 

THE JLOS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

 

Lady Justice Leticia Kikonyogo

As a former Deputy Chief Justice Justice and Head of the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Leticia Kikonyogo served the country and the Judiciary diligently in a glittering career spanning decades. 

 

Dr. S.P Kagoda 

Having diligently and faithfully served in as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Dr. S.P Kagoda has tremendously contributed to growth of the Justice, Law and Order Sector for more than a decade as a member of the JLOS Steering Committee. He has also been part of the peace process for Northern Uganda and as permanent secretary he led the multi-sectoral team to successfully implement the National ID project – a an unprecedented groundbreaking achievement for Uganda.

 

Mr. Tommy Ochen (RIP)

As a former Director of Correctional Services, Uganda Prisons who was instrumental in the award winning Prisons Rehabilitation Programme that continues to transform the lives of many prisoners across the country. Mr. Ochen’s selfless and dedicated service as a member of the JLOS Technical Committee was instrumental in shaping the policy and strategy of the Sector.

Though he is departed and no longer with us, the Justice, Law and Order celebrates his contribution and is proud to honor his honorable legacy.

 

Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi 

Having served in the Sector in various capacities – State Attorney (1981-1992); Deputy Attorney General and Minister of State for Justice and Constitutional Affairs (2006-2015) and Attorney General (2015 – 2016), Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi was instrumental in shaping Uganda’s justice, law and order landscape both from a technical, professional and political perspective. For his contribution, leadership and inspiration during the formative early years of the Sector, Hon. Ruhindi’s legacy lives on – through the big strides made by the Country and the Sector in the rule of law and administration of justice during his 35 years of diligent, people oriented and dedicated service.

 

For more information and inquiries on the JLOS Recognition Awards, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Latest News

 

KAMPALA - The Judiciary has launched the audio visual guidelines at the High Court in Kampala. The intervention will make it possible for courts to receive evidence by audio video link from witnesses who cannot appear in court due to infancy, old age, distance and costs.

The Rules Committee has already approved a Practice Direction on Audio Visual Evidence to provide for taking of evidence by audio and video link which will be issued today.

Currently, the Judiciary with support from UNICEF is installing Closed Circuit Cameras that are connected to TV Monitors in the High Courts of Kampala, Gulu, Mbale and Fort Portal, to receive evidence from children.

According to the Honourable the Chief Justice, children who are victims of sexual and gender based violence shall appear in court by video link to save them from secondary victimization, which they suffer when they physically appear in court to testify in full view of their molesters.

 

By Lucy Ladira | Published: August 19, 2016

Published in Latest News

 

This statement made by the Registry, ICD is to notify and update the public and concerned stakeholders of the activities of the ICD surrounding the trial of Uganda versus Thomas Kwoyelo.

 

1.  The ICD has had an overwhelming response from the International community following the last statement. The ICD will look to continue its current momentum in order to bring justice to those who have not yet received it.

2.  The Registry, ICD Outreach team traveled to Gulu on the 28/07/15 with the aim of establishing a dialogue with invested parties in the community.

3. The Outreach team met with the outgoing judge in Gulu Hon. Lady Justice Margaret Mutonyi who has been serving at Gulu High Court for the last 3years.

 

4. The outreach team discussed the problems that Gulu and Northern Uganda currently face as a result of the conflict with Judge Mutonyi. Judge Mutonyi stressed the need to address the high rate of juvenile crime in Gulu. Most of the current perpetrators of juvenile crime in Gulu are children who are direct or indirect victims of the LRA war.

 

5. The Registry, ICD has established an information desk in Gulu specifically for the Kwoyelo trial. The desk is the point of contact for the ICD in Gulu. The aim of this desk is to provide accurate and timely information to the Gulu community and trial participants.

 

6. Anyone who wishes to access the services of the ICD Gulu desk should proceed to the library in the High Court of Gulu or contact the desk via: email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by Telephone on : +256753620520

 

7. The outreach team made contact with the Refugee Law Project in Gulu who is working closely with the victims.

 

8. The ICD will be working closely with the Refugee Law Project throughout the Kwoyelo trial in order to provide the required support to victims.

 

9. The ICD recognizes the commendable work that the Refugee Law Project is doing in Northern Uganda.

 

10. The outreach team also travelled to Kitgum to gain an appreciation of the social landscape and the needs of the local community who were among those who suffered most from the conflict.

 

11. The Refugee Law Project has set up the National Memory and Peace Documentation Center in Kitgum which documents the timeline and events of the conflict in Northern Uganda. The ICD appreciates this effort, as remembrance and recognition is a crucial part of reconciliation.

 

12. The ICD Outreach team will travel to Gulu again in preparation for the pre-trial which is scheduled for the 15/08/16.

 

Any organisation interested in working with the High Court of Gulu and the ICD in the area of juvenile crime in Gulu should contact the registrar, ICD.

 

Issued on: August 2, 2016

 

Published in Latest News

This statement made by the International War Crimes Division (ICD) Registry is to notify the public and concerned stakeholders of the activities of the ICD surrounding the trial of Uganda versus Thomas Kwoyelo.

 

1.      The Supreme Court of Uganda ruled on the 08/05/2015 that the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo was constitutional and should continue. The Supreme Court concluded that the Amnesty Act does not grant blanket amnesty to all crimes committed during the rebellion, but only grants amnesty to crimes of a war-like nature (attached is the supreme court judgment).

 

2.      The ICD expects the pre-trial of Uganda versus Thomas Kwoyelo to take place on the 15/08/2016 in Gulu and the trial to take place during October of 2016.

 

3.      Since the decision to continue the trial, the ICD Registry has been conducting outreach programs throughout the Gulu region. The ICD Registry in partnership with the Ugandan Law society and Refugee Law Project is focusing their efforts on engaging with the victims and witnesses (V/W) in order to explain why the trial should take place and what the V/Ws should expect from the process.

 

4.      The ICD rules of procedure and evidence provide for the Ugandan government to offer reparation or compensation to qualifying V/Ws should the trial produce a conviction.

 

 

 

5.      The ICD has therefore appointed Counsel for Victims who have been calling for V/Ws to come forward and participate in the trial so as to be included on the victim index which index will be referred to during the reparation exercise.

 

 

6.      The ICD is currently moving to implement a V/W desk at the court in Gulu in order to centralize information for those concerned and to provide a point of contact for V/Ws.

 

 

7.      The ICD is investigating the possible use of local radio stations to broadcast important information surrounding the trial to the communities. It is the hope of the ICD that this measure will reduce confusion and demonstrate to the community that the trial is proceeding.

 

 

8.      The ICD has heard from a number of V/Ws that they have evidence of UPDF soldiers committing atrocities during the conflict. As a result, the ICD has made it clear that if credible evidence was brought against UPDF soldiers or commanders the case would be referred to the UPDF who have proven that they will court martial those who have committed crimes.

 

 

9.      The ICD is working alongside invested NGOs in the Gulu region to provide the best service to those who have been affected. The ICD invites interested NGOs to submit requests for further information.

 

 

 

10.  The ICD invites invested NGOs to explore the possibility of establishing themselves or returning to the Gulu region.

 

 

11.  The ICD wishes to work alongside NGOs in order to provide the highest level of care and support to those who have been affected by these alleged crimes and to assist with the reconciliation process that this trial is likely to bring about.

 

 

 

Registrar, International Crimes Division

 

July 26, 2016

 

 

Published in Latest News
Monday, 09 May 2016 08:05

Seven new judges sworn in

 

President Yoweri Museveni has today presided over the swearing in ceremony of 7 new judges at State House Entebbe. The new judges are: Justices Ketrah Kitariisibwa Katunguka, Moses Kazibwe Kawumi, Bitature Mugenyi Anna, Oyuko Anthony Ojok, Stephen Mubiru, Suzan Okalany and Dr. Flavian Zeija

President Yoweri Museveni described the process that has seen the power of the judiciary restored as 'a journey that started in 1986 and whose future is growing very bright'.  "There was a time, justices were an endangered species. In fact one was killed and the other went to deliver judgment of a case he was handling in Nairobi. Am happy to be associated with reviving the rule of law and restoring the power of the Judiciary," he said.

H.E The President congratulated the judges and implored them to solve the needs of the people. "The needs of your people to solve are multiple. There are those that can be solved and those that cant. Am here in my capacity as a freedom fighter, a repeatedly elected President and a political leader. I have tried to solve the needs of peace, making sure there is no war. The other, which I share with you, is law and order. I work with the police and the courts of law. There is poverty, jobs creation and justice. That is where you need to help our people. Intensify old methods in the constitution and also handle new ways to solve problems," he said.

Responding to the need for more judges to tackle the case backlogs in the judiciary, the President called upon the judges to prioritize urgent cases. He cited the commercial court where cases of land or buildings take longer to handle and yet their value keeps going up affecting the cases.

The swearing in of the 07 new judges now brings the total number of judges in Uganda to 50. Last September President Museveni elevated 11 judges and appointed a new one to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

  

By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: May 9, 2016

Published in Latest News

 

In 2006, The Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army commenced peace talks to end the conflict in Northern Uganda. In June 2007, the GoU and the LRA signed an, annexure to the final peace Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation, which required the Government to establish both formal and non-formal justice mechanisms to address accountability and reparations for atrocities committed in Northern Uganda.

In line with the Juba Peace Agreement calling for the establishment of accountability mechanisms for crimes perpetrated during the conflict, the Government of Uganda established the War Crimes Division in 2008, now the International Crimes Division of the High Court, to try individuals suspected of committing war crimes in the country.

 

What is the International Crimes Division?

The ICD is a special division of the High Court, a national Court established in 2008, under the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.  Originally, it was called the War Crimes Division. The International Crimes Division is not an international court. The ICD is not the International Criminal Court (ICC), or a branch of the International Criminal Court.

 

Where is the International Crimes Division located?

The headquarters is in Kampala, at Plot 8 Mabua Road, Kololo. The court may also sit in any other place in Uganda as the Chief Justice and the Principal Judge may decide.  

 

What kind of crimes will the International Crimes Division handle?  

The International Crimes Division deals jurisdiction over serious international crimes  as prescribed in  the Practice Directions of the ICD (Legal Notice No. 10 of 2011, gazetted 31 May 2011) these include; any offence relating to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism, human trafficking, piracy, and any other crimes as prescribed by Law.

What laws can be applied by the International Crimes Division? 

The ICD shall apply the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the Geneva Conventions Act of 1964, the Penal Code Act Cap 120, and the International Criminal Court Act of 2010, governing international crimes, and any other relevant law. 

 

How many judges are there in the International Crimes Division? 

There are five Judges appointed to the ICD. They sit in a panel of three Judges at the war crimes proceedings. There is a Head of the Division and Deputy Head of Division. 

 

Which institution is responsible for bringing charges before the International Crimes Division? 

The Director of Public Prosecutions, on behalf of the people of Uganda, according to the Constitution of Uganda (Art. 120(3), of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda)

 The functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions are the following—

(a) to direct the police to investigate any information of a criminal nature and to report to him or her expeditiously;

(b) to institute criminal proceedings against any person or authority in any court with competent jurisdiction other than a court martial;

(c) to take over and continue any criminal proceedings instituted by any other person or authority;

(d) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered, any criminal proceedings to which this article relates, instituted by himself or herself or any other person or authority; except that the Director of Public Prosecutions shall not discontinue any proceedings commenced by another person or authority except with the consent of the court.

 

What is the lifespan of the International Crimes Division?  

It is a permanent division of the High Court of Uganda.

 

Is the International Crimes Division the same as the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

No. The International Crimes Division is a Division of the High Court of Uganda. The ICC is an International Court, based in The Hague, The Netherlands. The two courts complement each other. 

 

What is the International Criminal Court? 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an international court that handles cases dealing with serious international crimes, specifically the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC was established by the Rome Statute in 2002. Uganda ratified and domesticated the Rome Statute in June 2010 by enacting the International Criminal Court Act 2010, meaning that it is obliged to respect the obligations in this treaty. Specifically, Uganda has the duty to prosecute the listed crimes where they are committed in its territory. If Uganda is unable or unwilling to do so, the International Criminal Court may bring charges against offenders of such crimes, especially when the offenses were committed in Uganda after 2002.

For more information about the International Criminal Court, see www.icc-cpi.int

 

What is the maximum punishment for a war crimes case?

The maximum penalty under the Geneva Conventions Act is life imprisonment for grave breaches of wilful killing. 

 

What are grave breaches under the Geneva Conventions Act? 

‘Grave breaches’ of the Geneva Conventions are serious crimes committed in the context of an armed conflict. ‘Grave breaches’ of the Geneva Conventions is a term used to denote the seriousness of the offenses. The Geneva conventions defines grave breaches as crimes: “involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.  ‘Grave breaches’ constitute war crimes, which are also prohibited under the Rome Statute of the ICC.

 

What is the role of the International Crimes Division?  

The role of the International Crimes Division is to hear the evidence presented by the Prosecution and any case presented by the Defence to raise serious doubt about the Prosecution case, and then to decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. 

 

What is the role of the registry of the International Crimes Division?

The registry provides administrative support to the International Crimes Division and coordinates all aspects of the trial. The Registrar heads the registry.

 

What is the role of Prosecutors?

Prosecutors guide the police in investigating a crime. If Prosecutors think there is sufficient evidence to prove that someone committed a crime, they institute a criminal case in a court. At trial, Prosecutors try to convince Judges that the accused committed the crimes. Prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.  

 

What is the role of the CID(Criminal Investigations Department)

The CID investigates the cases, summon witnesses at the hearing stage, produce exhibits in Court, and Testify as investigators in the case. 

 

What is the role of the Defence?

The Defence speaks on behalf of the accused. They also try to convince the Judges that the accused did not commit the crimes and help ensure that the rights of the accused are protected.

 

What is the role of the Prisons Service?

The prisons service detains the accused in legally recognised places of detention, in good conditions and in accordance with accepted standards. The prisons produce the accused before courts as and when required. On acquittal, the prisons release the accused and on conviction, the prisons undertake to rehabilitate the accused. 

 

Will the prosecution and defence witnesses be protected? 

Yes. Measures are in place to ensure the safety of witnesses.

 

What kind of protection measures can be provided to witnesses? 

Protection measures that exist include; physical protection, internal relocation, external relocation, change of witness contacts. Other include protection of the witness’ identity, including withholding names from the press, shielding witnesses’ faces during testimony, and presenting sensitive testimony in closed court sessions. These measures can apply before, during, and after the trial. 

 

What remedies are available to victims at the end of a trial? 

Upon conviction of an accused, courts may order the accused to pay compensation or provide other remedies to victims. According to Article 50 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Any person, who claims that a fundamental or other right or freedom guaranteed under this Constitution has been infringed or threatened, is entitled to apply to a competent court for redress which may include compensation.

 

What kinds of evidence can be used by the Prosecution and Defence in criminal trials?

Evidence can include:

  • Testimony of witnesses in court
  • Written documents
  • Video recordings
  • Scientific reports and forensic evidence
  • Post mortem reports
  • Photographs
  • Clinical notes 

 

Who can be a witness in criminal trials?

Any Person who has information relevant to the trial. 

 

How can victims participate in criminal trials?

Current practice in Uganda is that victims can participate as witnesses if called by the Prosecution or defense to help the court decide whether the accused is guilty or not. Victims can also attend the hearings as members of the public. 

 

Can decisions of the International Crimes Division be appealed? 

Yes, to the Court of Appeal. 

 

How long do war-crimes trials last?  

Depending on how complex the case is and how many witnesses will testify, war crimes trials can take many months to conclude. There is no time limit; however, trials must be conducted without undue delay. 

 

Where can I get more information about the Kwoyelo case and the International Crimes Division?

One can get information from the JLOS website at www.jlos.go.ug or the Judiciary Website at www.judicature.go.ug  

 

What is the contact information of the International Crimes Division?

Please contact the ICD at www.judicature.go.ug

 

What role do NGOs, cultural leaders and other civil-society groups play in war-crimes cases at the International Crimes Division?  

They can play different roles. Examples include the dissemination of information about  the case, appearing as witnesses if called by one of the parties or the court, and Supporting victims and witnesses. They are also partners and stakeholders in the  administration of Justice. 

 

DOWNLOAD

ICD Frequently Asked Questions

ICD Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions on the Thomas Kwoyelo Trial

 

Published in Transitional Justice
Page 5 of 7