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Community Justice Centers to be officially launched and opened

In April 2010, USAID through M/s Casals and Associates and NUTI approached the Justice Law and Order Sector with a proposal to build Community Justice Centres in the post conflict Northern Uganda and to train the Uganda Police Force under a six million dollar grant. Half of the money was earmarked for training the Uganda Police Force at Kabalya Police Training School at Masindi, while the other half was earmarked for construction of Community Justice Centres in the post conflict Northern Uganda.

According to the project proposal the rationale of the project is ‘ to support Uganda’s effort to demilitarize the LRA affected north through the expansion of access by citizens there to justice, law and order’ through ‘ funding the construction of Community Justice Centres, training and technical support and institutional development for the Uganda Police Force and JLOS institutions’. The immediate goal of the project is ‘address Uganda’s immediate needs to deliver legal and judicial services to areas where the formerly displaced persons have returned or are returning’.

USAID with the agreement of JLOS agreed to use the grant for the construction of Community Justice Centres at Patongo, Pader, Otuke and Kiryadongo; construction of a High Court Building at Lira and construction of a parking yard at Masindi High Court. It was also agreed that the project should fund the training of Uganda Police Force.

Like with all other USAID grant, the execution of the Community Justice Centres project was given to Northern Uganda Transitional Initiative (NUTI) to implement with JLOS playing a monitoring role. NUTI has been managing the projects, and most of the project should be completed by March 2011.

Each Community Justice Centre has offices and residences for the Uganda Police Force, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Court. In addition, each Community Justice Centre is fully furnished and has electricity or solar energy, where the Centre is far from the national electricity grid.

It is the expectation of USAID that the Community Justice Centres will ‘serve as loci for interaction between communities and representatives of the JLOS institutions especially the Police, DPP and the Court’ to improve the provision of legal and judicial services’.

As a sector and Government, our obligation is to provide adequate staff for the Community Justice Centres and to provide recurrent expenditure to maintain and run services within the Centres.

Last but not least, all the Community Justice Centres will be symbolically launched and officially opened at Patongo on January 10, 2011. The function will be presided over by the Deputy Chief Justice and the Deputy Head of the US Mission in Uganda. Heads of the participating JLOS institutions and JLOS Development Partners will attend the launch.