Following almost two decades (1966-1986) of political, civil and economic regress in Uganda, there was an extensive breakdown of functions of the state including the maintenance of law and order. Governments then failed to provide the requisite infrastructure, logistics, personnel, legal and policy direction to legitimate state institutions to effectively execute their mandate.
This period was characterized by: Chronic systemic constraints that delayed and hampered access to justice and service delivery, effective planning and budgeting; Antiquated methods and tools of investigations and prosecution,; The high cost of justice due to corrupt practices and limited proximity to the justice delivery agencies by end-users; Case backlogs and high prison populations; Inefficiencies and lack of effective procedural guidelines and performance standard in Justice delivery institutions as well as significant gender-based discrimination.
To stem the tide (i.e. the above stated six constraints in the justice delivery chain, amongst others), the Justice Law and Order Sector JLOS was born!! JLOS is a sector wide approach adopted by Government bringing together institutions with closely linked mandates of administering justice and maintaining law and order and human rights, into developing a common vision, policy framework, unified on objectives and plan over the medium term.
It focuses on a holistic approach to improving access to and administration of justice through the sector wide approach to planning, budgeting, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The sector comprises of: Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MOJCA); Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA); The Judiciary; Uganda Police Force (UPF); Uganda Prison Service (UPS); Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP); Judicial Service Commission (JSC); The Ministry of Local Government (Local Council Courts); The Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (Probation and Juvenile Justice); The Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC); The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC); The Law Development Centre (LDC); The Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT); The Uganda Law Society (ULS); Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (CADER) and The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
We (JLOS) started off with a Strategic Investment Plan (SIP I 2001/01 – 2005/06) to address the constraints and at its lapse we introduced the Second Sector Strategic Investment Plan (SIP II 2006/07 – 2010/11). Currently, the Sector is implementing the Third JLOS Strategic Investment Plan (SIP III 2012/13 - 2016/17).
Uganda’s Justice Law and Order sector is a significant innovation now in operation for over 10 years as a holistic Government approach focused on improving the administration of justice, maintenance of law and order as well as the promotion, protection and respect of human rights.
The sector has over the past decade implemented the first and second investment plans and is proud to note that there is now a more developed system approach to evidence based budgeting with increased coordination, communication and cooperation in public service delivery and development assistance in the sector. The sector has also redefined the commercial and criminal justice system which is now the basis of reforms in other African countries.
Building on the above successes, JLOS has developed the third Sector Strategic Investment Plan (SIPIII). SIPIII is based more on the need to achieve clear results and impact aiming at the promotion of the rule of law. The sector is thus focused on increasing public confidence and trust in the justice system as well as user satisfaction in the services offered by the sector.
To drive the above impact the sector will over the next five years strengthen policy and legal frameworks for effectiveness and efficiency; enhance people’s access to JLOS services and drive the country towards deeper observance of human rights while promoting institutional and individual accountability.