Outcome 1: Strengthening Policy and Legal Frameworks
A strong, harmonized and consistent legal, regulatory and policy environment is conducive for national development and is a core public good under the mandate of the Justice, Law and Order Sector. This plays a critical role in enhancing productivity growth; improving country competitiveness and is a basis for socio-economic transformation.
Under this outcome, the Sector was able to complete a study and prepare draft legislation to amend legislation affected by decisions of Court. We also initiated legislation to strengthen institutions including the Judiciary Administration Bill and an enabling law for the DPP. As a result of these interventions, Uganda is now ranked 80th out of 144 countries globally in the Global Competitiveness’ Index of Judicial Independence.
The Sector also developed joint inspection guidelines, which are expected to improve inspections across JLOS institutions, strengthen the Inspectors’ Forum and popularize and enforce set targets on compliance with codes of conduct.
11 out of the 17 JLOS institutions now have approved institutional Strategic Investment Plans, and 5 have final drafts awaiting management approval. In addition to this, the DPP, UHRC, Uganda Police, Uganda Prisons, TAT, URSB and DCIC developed service delivery standards.
Sentencing Guidelines for Courts of Judicature were launched to promote transparency and uniformity in sentencing, provide mechanisms of victims and community participation in criminal justice and equal protection of the law.
A handbook on verification of Uganda Citizenship was developed to guide the mass enrollment of citizens under the National Security Information Systems project and the issuance of national identity cards. To date 30,000 national Identity cards have been issued and it is expected that by 2016, over 16 million Ugandans would have been issued with national identity cards.
The sector completed its study on Traditional Justice and Truth Telling and a final report was printed. The report recommends the recognition of traditional justice and truth telling mechanisms as legitimate justice options for dispute settlement in post-conflicts situations.
The Justice, Law and Order Sector has also supported the International Crimes Division of the High Court to develop Rules of Procedure and Evidence that are now pending adoption by the Rules Committee. The Sector also maintained its recommendations for a conditional amnesty, while committing to make provision for amnesty in the Transitional Justice law.
We have identified opportunities offered by regional integration and are undertaking efforts to harness these opportunities. The Sector has finalized drafting of amendments to number of statutory instruments to bring them into compliance with the East African Common Market Protocol.
Outcome 2: Enhance Access to JLOS Services
Under this outcome, the Sector focuses on improving the availability and accessibility of it’s services. This is being done by making its service points more accessible for people with disabilities, elderly people, vulnerable persons and extend selected services in land and family justice to the rural areas.
In focusing on improving the availability and accessibility of JLOS services, the Sector invested in increasing case disposal, physical de-concentration of services, reduction of lead times, reduction in crime and easing business registration processes.
In the reporting period, infrastructure development continued. The sector opened and staffed 9 new Grade One magistrates’ Courts and constructed 5 One-stop JLOS service points in Kayunga, Lamwo, Isingiro, Kanungu and Bundibugyo, thereby completing the chain of justice. Ground breaking took place for a further Mini-JLOS station in Kyenjojo.
The Uganda Police Force completed construction of the CIID headquarters at Naguru, which are currently housing the police headquarters as efforts are underway to construct the JLOS House and UPF headquarters.
The Sector is developing an infrastructure development plan and concluded th establishment of a sector wide geographical information system (GIS) to guide and inform investments in infrastructure.
In terms of case disposal, the courts recorded 89.12% disposal rate of registered cases disposing 112,996 cases compared to 126,781 cases registered. The disposal rate in Chief Magistrates Courts stood at 92% of registered cases, while Grade one and two magistrates Courts registered 95% and 97% respectively. As a result, the sector registered an improvement in the average length of stay on remand for capital offences at 11.4 months from 11.8 months reported in 2011/12.
The JLOS House project commenced with the allocation of Shs.5.7 billion which was applied to the preparation of detailed designs for the construction, resettlement of police officers and fencing of the land. The Inspector General of Police on September 19th 2013 officially handed over the site for the construction of the JLOS House Complex which when complete will provide decent office accommodation to a host of JLOS institutions saving the government $5m spent on rent annually!!!
The DCIC issued 76,499 passports to Ugandans representing a 7.7% growth in the number of passports issued and the lead-time for passport issuance was maintained at 10 days. URSB completed 39,824 transactions in the Business registry including registration of 17,424 Companies, 16,443 documents and 1,703 Trademarks. The Civil registry recorded 49,130 transactions including registration of 44,060 births, 2,564 deaths and 24 adoptions.
The Law Development Centre published 3,000 copies of the Uganda Law Reports for 2006 and 2009 to support the dissemination of decisions and development of jurisprudence. The Judiciary in turn developed court user guides;
The DPP developed a gender policy and the Uganda Police created a department of gender and sexual based violence aimed at eliminating bias and discrimination in access to justice by the vulnerable.
Through outreach programmes, the Uganda Law Society sensitized communities on a wide array of legal and human rights issues. While the Tax Appeals Tribunal amended it’s Rules of Procedure to provide for more user-friendly procedures for the users resulting into a 76% disposal rate of cases.
Under SIP III, we continue to give special consideration to children, poor women and men and other identified categories of users. In this regard, the Administrator General opened a total of 3,058 new files, inspected 167 estates and wound up 200 estates as planned. Land courts were rolled out to 15 Chief Magisterial areas and as a result 1,576 land cases were disposed of. The UPF sensitized 330 police officers on child protection and the laws on SGBV, conducted 544 home visits, 167 school visits and 217 networking activities involving 61,954 participants. The Sector also registered a 9.9% overall reduction in juveniles involved in crime in the reporting period.
With improved investigations, capacity conviction rates are now at 53.6% and specific measures to boost rehabilitation of offenders including juveniles have led to reduced levels of recidivism. The UPF canine unit was expanded from 36 police stations in 2011 to 44 in 2012. The UPF has also rolled out the community policing programme. UPF also registered a decrease in terrorism activities and this has been attributed to sensitization workshops and awareness campaigns.
The sector also continued to work to ensure that there is a functional low cost model for legal aid that integrates the state briefs, standards for legal aid provision and complements the pro-bono scheme. To this end, a draft Legal Aid policy was finalized and approved by the Sector Leadership. The Uganda Law Society opened 3 new legal aid clinics in Mbarara, Arua and Soroti and handled a total of 8,359 clients.
The Law Development Centre in turn handled 770 cases in its clinics and was able to divert 764 child offenders. Justice Centres Uganda reached 16,004 persons and held 154 community outreaches focusing on specific issues notably how to resolve land conflicts and family disputes.
Outcome 3: Human Rights Observance Promoted
Justice systems are hinged on human rights principles, which are enshrined in international and regional treaties, national constitutions and laws. The role of JLOS institutions is to promote these human rights, including the right to a fair and speedy trial, and the right to freedom from torture.
In the reporting year, the Sector has been able to maintain the average time of disposal of human rights complaints at 24 months, in line with the set targets. The disposal rate of registered human rights complaints stands at 29.6% compared to 22.3% in 2011. Human rights desks have been established in the Uganda Police Force and functional human rights committees have been established in 95% of the prison units.
Within the reporting period 35,565 prisoners were looked after and provided with 3 meals a day, medical care and basic necessities. Sanitary items were provided to all female inmates and 148 babies residing with their mothers in the prisons were supported.
In the 2012 - 2013 reporting period, 7,869 inmates were imparted with life skills ranging from industrial training and agricultural skills to formal education. 15,607 inmates were counseled and 791 were re-integrated into their communities once they had completed their sentences.
Through its anti-corruption strategy that addresses both individual and institutional accountability, the Sector is mainstreaming accountability and the national policy on zero tolerance to corruption in management of public services.
The Anti-corruption Division obtained a 95.7% disposal rate, with 360 of the 376 registered cases disposed of. The Judicial Service Commission registered a 57.6% disposal rate of registered cases and as a result of the cases handled 6 judicial officers were dismissed, 2 were retired in public interest and 2 were severely reprimanded. The Law Council also registered a 36.5% disposal rate of complaints against Advocates.