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The Hon. The Deputy Chief Justice, 

The Hon. The Principal Judge,

Honourable Ministers in your respective capacities,

Honourable Attorney General, 

Honourable Justices of the Courts of Judicature,

Your Excellencies and Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Uganda, 

The Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Public Service,

Members of Parliament Present,

The Director of Public Prosecutions,

The Solicitor General and Chairperson of the JLOS Steering Committee,

Chairpersons and Members of Constitutional Commissions,

Heads of the Justice Sector Ministries, Departments and Agencies, 

Heads of Government Institutions present,

Representatives of Civil Society, the Media and Non-State Actors, 

Invited Guests, 

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

I warmly welcome you all to this 23rd Joint Annual JLOS Government of Uganda – Development Partners’ Review. This is our first review under the Fourth Sector Development Plan (SDP IV). This is, as always, a particularly important event in the JLOS calendar, and is an opportunity to gather and reflect on our progress within the previous year. Although it is the first year under the new strategy, we have delved straight into implementation. We thank the Government of Uganda and the Development Partners for honouring their commitments that were made at the previous review. This support, both financial and technical, has been the driving force for our achievements so far.

 

As we move into the Sector’s 20th year of existence, I must acknowledge the partnerships within and outside the Sector that have kept us going and we trust that these will be maintained and nurtured further. The year has not been without challenges but as you will see from the report, we have also registered significant successes over the period under review. It is important, as a Sector, that we take all steps to live by the values that we adopted under the SDP IV namely – ‘empowering the people, building trust, upholding rights”. 

 

At the start of the SDP IV, we committed ourselves to ensuring that people in Uganda live in a safe and just society, to increase the trust and satisfaction of people with the services of the JLOS institutions, to improve the Index of Judicial Independence and to maintain the ‘A’ Status of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC). Our efforts throughout the year have been geared towards this.

 

One year into implementation of the SDP IV, people’s trust in JLOS institutions has increased, the Sector has also registered an improvement in the Index of Judicial Independence to 3.42 in 2018 from 3.41 in 2017, according to the World Competitiveness Report, 2018. In terms of the ranking of the national human rights body, the UHRC maintained an ‘A’ status.

 

Our challenge is to deal with concerns from the public that may affect these levels of trust and satisfaction, such as acts of torture, the perception of insecurity and increased crime, delayed disposal of cases before the Courts of law and quality of services, as well as slow and bureaucratic delivery of services. These are issues that we identified and committed ourselves to address as a Sector under SDP IV through improved efficiency and harnessing the potential of innovation.

 

It is my belief that we are well on the path to fulfilling our goals and I wish to specifically highlight some of our achievements so far.

 

Case backlog Reduction

Case backlog reduction has been of primary importance to the Sector under the SDP IV. This ranges from clearance of cases in the Court system, to expediting the processes of investigation by police and resolution of disciplinary matters. The Sector, however, specifically set out to reduce case backlog in the Courts of law from a baseline of 24% in 2016/17 to 19.3% in 2017/18 and an ultimate goal of 9% in 2021. The Case Backlog Reduction Strategy was adopted with the intention of providing strategic interventions to address the overwhelming backlog. This strategy has been implemented through targeted sessions, weeding out exercises in various institutions and the prioritization of resources for hearings of cases by Courts and Tribunals. As a result of these interventions, case backlog has reduced from 24% to 21%. Consequently, the remand population has reduced from 52.4% of the total prison population to 51.4%.

 

The Strategy is therefore beginning to yield fruit. Growth in case backlog has now been arrested and we are managing the existing load. Without the Strategy, the backlog would have stood at 38%. This has been the result of concerted efforts across all the frontline JLOS institutions, improved coordination and communication, and increased use of innovative means to address the backlog, including mediation, plea bargaining and small claims procedures. We are also focusing on specialized measures for some categories of cases including cases involving children and sexual and gender based crime. It is still our commitment to reduce the percentage of case backlog to single digits by 2021 and we are firmly on this path.

 

Access to JLOS services

The Sector also set out to extend its services throughout the Country. In 2016/17, 59.3% of districts had one-stop frontline JLOS service points. With the construction of JLOS centres around the country, we have now expanded coverage to 61.5% of districts. I thank our partners who have consistently contributed to our construction programmes and the extension of JLOS services around the Country. In tandem with the extension of services, we have seen an increase in case filing, case disposal and more coordination among JLOS institutions. We have also seen a decrease in complaints about lost files and overstay in police cells. Agencies such as the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, ODPP, UHRC, URSB and DCIC (Passport and Immigration Services), Government Analytical Laboratory and the Law Development Centre have also de-concentrated their services and are now available around the Country. Our presence is surely growing!

 

We are however still grappling with a shortage of staff in many institutions. Only the Judicial Service Commission has reported a full staff structure. This staffing shortage, which is partly a result of inadequate funding, has affected the functionality of institutions both at the headquarters and in the regional offices. It impacts on the institutions ability to provide adequate and timely services. Until this is addressed, the newly constructed facilities will not be used to their full potential; and efficiency levels will fall short of what is expected. The critical shortage of staff across all JLOS institutions must be addressed if we are to achieve the objectives of the SDP IV.

 

Local Council Courts and Informal Justice Systems

I am glad to report the re-constitution of the Local Council Courts system following the successful conclusion of Village and Parish Council elections. With the support of our partners, particularly the Democratic Governance Facility, we have been able to prepare for their capacity building in anticipation of their roles in dispute resolution. We have fully prepared trainers in place and training materials are available. Desk Officers have been placed in all the districts to oversee the establishment of the Local Council Courts at all levels. The Judiciary in turn is building the capacity of the Magistrates to perform their supervisory role over these local courts. The Local Council Courts and other informal justice systems are a critical part of our justice system. They are a first point of call for the majority of citizens in dispute resolution and as such they play a vital role in creating and maintaining the trust and participation of the public in the justice system.

 

Children and Juvenile Justice

The Sector’s Justice for Children programme has grown in strength. The Coordinators located around the Country are well integrated into the District Chain-Linked Committees and are working closely with the institutions to ensure that child friendly processes and diversion programmes are implemented.

 

Different institutions have instituted other measures to support the child-friendly environment. For instance, the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development has completed the Kabale Regional Remand Home and commenced on the construction of the Moroto Regional Home to provide appropriate accommodation for children in conflict with the law. 

Institutionalization of children remand homes in the justice system is not our primary goal and diversion is being promoted as the most appropriate alternative for children in conflict with the law, in order to ensure that their growth and development is not brought to a halt by the justice system. It is however necessary for us to provide suitable accommodation where diversion is not an option because the absence of these facilities across the country has resulted into gross injustices to children. These regional remand homes are therefore of great need to our juvenile justice system.  

 

The Legal Aid Clinic of the Law Development Centre, the Legal Aid Project of the Uganda Law Society and Justice Centres Uganda together with the Police, ODPP and Courts, continue to emphasize diversion of children from the Justice system, whenever possible. With the reinstatement of the Local Councils at the village and parish levels, this strategy will be further strengthened as the offices responsible for diversion of children are based at the village and parish levels and we will now be able to empower them to perform these functions.

 

On another front, the ODPP has created a child-friendly space in its facilities as part of its efforts to improve the response to the needs of children who are witnesses or victims of crime, thereby reducing the trauma of the judicial process. It is expected that these facilities will be replicated throughout the Country.

 

Sexual and Gender Based Violence

The efforts to respond to Sexual and Gender Based (SGBV) crime are multi-faceted. These include amendments of the law that have taken place and strengthening of measures to ensure effective implementation of the laws and policies. Specialized training is planned for CID Officers aimed at improving their investigation skills, particularly in SGBV cases. The ODPP has prepared a Prosecutors’ Manual to guide State Attorneys in the handling of SGBV cases and the Judiciary is in advanced stages of arranging Special Sessions of Court to specifically address SGBV cases.

 

There are still challenges with forensic examinations, particularly DNA examinations that are critical to SGBV cases. Regional laboratories have been constructed, however they lack critical equipment, particularly the Genetic Analyser. The acquisition of these items will be one of the areas of focus in improving the handling of SGBV cases.

 

Innovations 

We have seen significant innovations from institutions, resulting in a reduction in lead times for registering a business and obtaining work permits. There have also been reforms to the Trade Licensing laws to reduce the number of permits required to start a business. These innovations are all being bolstered by increased use of technology and e-based services that are expected to culminate in more integration of JLOS services.

The innovations have addressed aspects of customer service and engagement, outreach and public education as well as adoption of e-based platforms to facilitate faster delivery of JLOS services. 

 

We have partnered with the private sector and civil society to identify and nurture innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing new ways of looking at the delivery of public and particularly justice services. Some of these innovators will be introduced to you today. These partnerships and mentorship programmes create a space for mutually beneficial ideas that will enhance and enrich our efforts as a Sector and we look forward to their further growth. 

 

This is however only the first year and a lot remains to be done. Challenges remain that have the potential to derail our progress and in so doing reverse any gains that have been made as far as public trust and satisfaction is concerned.

 

Crime and insecurity

Despite the overall reduction in the crime rate, this past year has been plagued by an upsurge in violent crime.  Kidnaps and murder have been frequently reported, casting a shadow on perceptions of safety.  The key challenge for the Sector is ensuring adequate measures to prevent crime as well as strengthening the capacity of institutions to investigate and handle crime once it happens. The Sector had targeted a reduction in the crime rate from 298 incidences for every 100,000 persons to 287 by 2020. This year, the crime rate stood at 287.9. We therefore clearly registered some achievements and are firmly on course to achieve the SDP IV target. However perceptions are critical in this area and we shall emphasize measures that address the growing areas of crime and our ability to respond fast and effectively to these.

 

Human Rights and the fight against Corruption

In terms of observance of human rights and promotion of accountability, the focus is on enhancing human rights awareness and practice at sectoral and institutional level to reduce the incidence of human rights violations and mainstream the national policy on zero tolerance to corruption.

 

We are on course to realize planned targets by 2020/21 under the fight against corruption demonstrated by improvement in the 2017 corruption perception score by Transparency International from 25% to 26%, narrowing the overall performance gap by 20%.  This has been attributed to sustained enforcement of internal and external accountability by the Sector and other public institutions.

 

The culpability of JLOS institutions for human rights violations continues to reduce.  A 2.1% reduction was registered by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) from 46% to 43.9%.  Nonetheless, the incidences over the past months have made the issue of torture one of national and international debate.  It is important that we stand firm as a Sector and take a stand against torture and all forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. We reiterate our stand against torture and all forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment and emphasize that individuals should be held accountable for any acts of torture that they perpetuate. We firmly believe that with the coming into force of the much anticipated regulations under the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, the law should be fully enforced and we will continue to emphasize this.

 

Prison Congestion

The current prison population stands at about 52,000, while the holding capacity is 18,000. The population is therefore about 3 times the capacity and therefore congestion remains an outstanding challenge for the Sector. 

 

Through construction and renovation programmes, the holding capacity has increased from 11,000 to 18,000 over 10 years. Congestion is still high, however there are other efforts to reduce the prison population pressure such as improved investigations, strengthened prosecution and enhanced case disposal. The remand/convict ratio, stands at 51/49 and conviction rates stand at 62%. It can therefore be discerned that 38% of the remand population should not be in prison. Nonetheless, the prison population is likely to remain high and efforts must continue to renovate and provide more appropriate facilities to ensure that human rights standards are met.

 

Commercial Justice and Improved environment for investment

In terms of strengthening commercial justice and the environment for competitiveness, the Sector took the strategic decision to reform, enforce and update laws to promote competitiveness and regional integration.  Significant innovations from key institutions have resulted in a reduction in lead times for registration and licensing processes.  Automation continues to be a key strategy for providing customer-oriented services that promote faster disposal of cases, registration of documents and issuance of permits and licenses.  It is expected that the automation process will culminate in more integrated services.  It is therefore important that we continue to support the processes of automation in JLOS institutions, including the Judiciary in line with agreed protocols for integration and data sharing.  The concept of ‘Ask Once’ promotes the notion that information that has been provided to one institution, should not be asked for by another.  Instead a client should be confident that once they provide the information to one institution, it should, within agreed parameters and cognizant of privacy laws, be available to others.  This will reduce the number of times a client is asked for key data such as date of birth, place of residence and occupational details.  This should be the ultimate goal of the integration process.

 

While we celebrate our collective achievements today, we still have our work cut out for us. I am confident though that the strength of the Sector wide approach will provide the necessary framework for us to address these challenges together. Allow me to take this opportunity to thank all our partners in Government, Civil Society and from the Development Partners for the commitment to our development agenda and the support they have given to us to make it possible to register the successes that we report today. 

 

The challenges notwithstanding, implementation of the 2017/18 workplan appears to be satisfactory.  This conference is intended to review the report, consider the successes and challenges, and propose remedial measures to address the short-falls as we continue with the implementation of the SDP IV. I invite you to join me in a frank discussion of the Sector progress and challenges and in charting out a path for the year ahead. 

 

I thank you all for your personal attendance today and it is now my honour and pleasure to declare the 23rd Annual Joint JLOS Government of Uganda – Development Partners Review Conference open.

 

Bart M. Katureebe

CHIEF JUSTICE AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE JLOS LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE.

 

Published in Latest News

 

 

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My Lord, the Deputy Chief Justice
My Lord, the Principal Judge
Honourable Ministers
Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal
Your Excellency, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Chairperson JLOS Development Partners Group
Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Kampala
The Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service
Heads of JLOS Institutions
The Solicitor General and Chairperson JLOS Steering Committee
Members of the JLOS Steering and Technical Committees
Heads of Government Agencies and Departments
Partners and stakeholders from Civil Society and the Private Sector
Invited Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to welcome you all to this 22nd Joint Annual JLOS Government of Uganda – Development Partners’ Review. This is one of the most important events on the JLOS Annual calendar, and an opportune moment to reflect and take stock of our achievements against our set undertakings.
This review, as has been the case with the previous ones, is held in the spirit of positive and purposive partnership where we strategize together toward the greater JLOS Sector goal of ‘Justice For All’.


This year’s Review is special and an epitome of a commitment and promise made to the people of Uganda in 2012 to ‘Deepen reforms for a pro people justice system’. Today, we shall deliberate on the JLOS annual performance for the financial year 2016/2017, and also take stock of the past five years of hard work under the JLOS SIP III that came to an end on 30th June 2017.


The theme for this Review is “A Pro-people Justice System: Profiling Vulnerability, Delivering on the Promise”. The Promise to serve the vulnerable people of Uganda, who need JLOS services and in many cases do not have the means to afford or reach our service stations.


I am pleased to note that for most of you who have been part of the JLOS Sector trajectory of growth, the path, though interposed by challenges and limitations, has seen the Sector register a net positive progression. As you may recall, our first JLOS SIP I (2001 to 2005) focused on Sector rebuilding and retooling, then SIP II 2006/7 to 2011/12 strategically dealt with stabilisation and infrastructure development – popularly known as the ‘Brick and Mortar’ phase. Our most recent and now concluded SIP III phase (2012 -2017) was focused on deepening reforms for a pro-people justice system.


Our achievements in enhancing access to justice which are evident in our ever improving position in global and national assessments and indices are a product of our collective efforts and a source of pride. These are a result of primarily Government policy and support, and in addition, the strong partnerships that the Sector enjoys with all of you gathered here, and many other constituencies.


Together we have attained many milestones, overcome critical challenges, and reached out to more people in need of JLOS services. It is for this collective cause that we converge and reflect on our achievements, strategize better to overcome our challenges and plan ahead. Our achievements thus far have been born out of collective commitment to aspire for better, dedicated hard work, and progressive improvement within the scope of our means.


At a global level Uganda’s competitiveness and ranking continues to improve under various indices. For instance, according to the World Economic Forum Report of 2016, our score in the Index of Judicial Independence improved from 3.41 in 2015/16 to 3.6 in 2016/17 as a result of improved innovations and reduced interference in the judicial processes, among other developments. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, Uganda improved from 135th position in 2010 to 115th in 2017. Most of these details will be presented to us later on today.


I must emphasise that these rankings are a demonstration of our improvement but not the ultimate measure of success that we have set out to achieve. As a Sector and the country at large, we aspire to rank among the best globally in not only the realm of law and justice, but also other Sectors.


The Sector has reduced lead-times and steps required to access a complete service, therefore serving more people within a shorter time. We have reviewed and refined our service delivery processes in both civil and criminal justice systems. Our civil registries, such as the URSB and the DCIC have been re-organised and are progressively being automated. Most importantly, we recognise the central role that JLOS staff play in this development equation and the Sector continues to strengthening staff knowledge and technical capacity, professionalism, and integrity among all our staff. These developments and many others have had a ripple effect of increasing the Sector’s public confidence from a baseline average of 26% in 2012 to 48% in 2016.


To further demonstrate this, the annual average number of cases disposed-of grew by 64%, from 86,000 cases in 2011/2012, to 175,556 cases in 2016/2017. Specifically, the disposal of land cases reduced by more than half, from 36 months in 2010 to 15 months in 2016/17. The average time taken to process a forensic investigation reduced to 90 days from a baseline of 210 days in 2010. This has had a trickle-down effect in other areas such as reduction in length of stay on remand, reduction in case backlog levels, among others.


The average length of stay on remand for persons charged with capital offences reduced from 15 months to 10.4 months. The overall case backlog reduced from 35% in 2010/2011 to 24% in 2017, despite an increase in the overall cases filed across the justice system. On this note, the Sector plans to effectively implement the Case Backlog Reduction Strategy 2017 with a view to reducing case backlog to a single digit percentage within the next two years.
In geographical terms, the Sector has enhanced its service delivery coverage and reduced the distance people travel to access JLOS services from an average radius of 75km in 2012, to 15km in 2017.


With policing services now present in every sub-county in Uganda, coupled with Community Policing by the Uganda Police Force, the Sector has registered a reduction in the incidence of crime from 314 for every 100,000 persons in 2011, to 291 for every 100,000 in 2016 although some particular areas of crime are seeing a rise, such as sexual and gender based crimes. This reduction has been a result of hard work and dedication against a tide of a high population growth, a high rural-urban migration, and external pressures of sophisticated transnational economic and terrorism associated forms of crime.


I am proud to inform you that by the end of the SIP III period, 98% of construction projects had been completed. Some of these include the Justice Centres in Moroto, Kiruhura, Ibanda, Bulambuli and Koboko among others. The remaining 2% are those that commenced in the final year of the SIP III period and are on course to be completed. Some of the critical pending construction projects include the Kitalya Maximum Security Prison which is planned to relieve the current congestion at Luzira maximum prison. Currently, 40% of the work is complete.


The Sector’s institutional and functional presence is now in 82% of the districts and infrastructure has been provided by the Sector in 59.8% of the districts. However, our pursuit is to not only expand our functional physical presence, but also enhance the quality and purity of JLOS services provided to the public. The Sector is progressively automating some segments of its service delivery processes to improve efficiency and quality and minimise opportunity for abuse of discretion. As we shall learn from the presentations that will be made today, the URSB, NIRA, DCIC, ODPP, UPF and the Judiciary are progressively realising this undertaking.


However, these tales of success and achievements are but a part of the bigger picture of mixed fortunes. While we celebrate and consolidate our gains, the Sector continues to face some challenges in a number of critical areas; the current double-digit Case Backlog at 24% calls for spirited collective effort and commitment to overcome. We are mindful that while the Sector has achieved most of its projected construction plans, the pursuit of realising functional physical presence of all frontline institutions in all districts calls for more resources, prioritisation, and strategic planning. For instance, there is an urgent need for a multi-pronged approach to address the prison congestion that stood at 312% as at June 2017. As at the end of October 2017, the prison occupancy level was 328%. The prison occupancy is growing at an average rate of 9.8% while its holding capacity is growing at less than 2%. This is not a problem of the Uganda Prisons Service alone but a matter of concern for the entire Sector.


We take cognisance of the changing economic terrain and living conditions spurred on over time by internal and external economic pressures of development, resulting in increased cost of living. We are aware that some of our staff laid down their tools in protest as they demand for better remuneration. These actions are well intended and exercised within the law, however, they slow down the realisation of our collective targets, impinge on some human rights, and cause suffering to those that seek our services.


I am confident that the on-going holistic salary review and harmonisation processes initiated by the Government will go a long way in providing lasting solutions as opposed to piece meal treatment of some institutions. We are better off improving the working conditions of the public service as a whole than addressing one institution at a time. I therefore appeal to JLOS staff to be patient, pragmatic, and trust in the on-going salary review processes. For now, let us serve the people of Uganda.


I must note that incidences of perceived and actual corruption are still prevalent in some of the JLOS service stations, and this not only erodes the Sector’s image, but also increases the vulnerability of both the supply and demand sides of justice. I would like to use this opportunity, to call on all JLOS institutions to take concrete and decisive action against acts of corruption among institutional staff and users of JLOS services.


While many of the Sector problems and challenges require enhanced human and financial resources, some interventions such as the fight against corruption and impunity are in some cases budget neutral. I call upon the heads of JLOS institutions and departments, and agencies to take this matter more seriously and implement the JLOS Anti-Corruption Strategy, name, shame and punish the few that bring our work in disrepute, and enhance integrity within our rank and file.
Therefore, as we consolidate our achievements under the JLOS SIP III, it is my honour to invite all of you to continue in our partnership in implementation of the new Sector strategy – the JLOS Sector Development Plan IV. Later in the day, we hope to dedicate part of our time to unveil and deliberate on what is comprised in our new path of development that is to cover the period 2017 to 2020.


As I conclude, I thank the Government and the people of Uganda for supporting and having confidence in the JLOS Sector.


I especially thank the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for delivering on the Constitutional promise of ensuring justice for the people of Uganda. The Government resource allocation to the JLOS Sector grew in absolute terms from UGX568 Billion in 2012/13 to UGX1.335 Trillion in 2016/17. This is a primary factor that accounts for the achievements of the Sector in terms of human resources, service delivery, and infrastructure development. However, we seek to achieve greater heights and enhance the welfare of the people of Uganda and improve the business environment and competitiveness of Uganda as an investment destination. With increased human and financial resources, and strategic planning, the Sector is set to further improve dispute resolution lead times, expand faster registration and development of small scale businesses that increase the national tax base, enhance movement of labour and trade across the East Africa Community, further reduce levels of crime, and promote the rule of law. We therefore pray that as the national budget grows, we see a commensurate growth in the Sector’s budgets as opposed to the current situation, where the Sector budget has increased in absolute terms but has reduced as a percentage of the national budget.


On such an important occasion, the Sector proudly extends its gratitude for the generosity and support of the JLOS Development Partners, with whom we work so intimately to deliver on the promise – the promise to deliver ‘Justice For All’. Over the SIP III period, the Sector received both Budget and Project support toward the JLOS Development budget in addition to direct project and technical capacitation support.


On this occasion, I would like to be more specific and re-sound our gratitude on behalf of the people of Uganda, and the Government of Uganda to the citizens and governments of Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, United States of America and the European Union. I extend our appreciation to the East Africa Community Governments that have collaborated with the Sector over the SIP III period, the United Nations agencies, particularly UNICEF, UN Women, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP, International NGOs, and also the Uganda Civil Society Organisations.


As a collective and through your missions, delegations, agencies, and direct participation, you have supported the course of justice and the rule of law in Uganda. We pledge to stay this course, continue to nurture strong partnerships, and remain accountable in our pursuit of justice for all.
I also thank the Political, Policy and Technical leadership of the 18 JLOS institutions for staying the course of justice, steering reforms, and maintaining the commitment to the JLOS family. While our aspirations remain demanding, today we take note and cognisance of the gains achieved. I appeal to you, to continue promoting the cause of the Sector such that we continue to convene and celebrate shared success and achievements.
I would like to applaud the work of the JLOS Secretariat. The critical coordination and technical backstopping role that you play, fuels our innovation, collaboration and as a result, the JLOS stands out like no other Sector in Uganda. I thank you!


Last, but by no means least, I use this opportunity to thank the men and women that serve under the 18 JLOS institutions in the different parts of this beautiful country. I have surely visited all parts of the country and many JLOS service stations and I know that most of you work hard under challenging circumstances and I know that it is your dedication that has assured much of the Sector’s success. It is for these reasons and more, that I personally thank you for the good job that you do, for serving the people of Uganda, and taking pride in a noble cause of promoting justice for all people, and for saying NO to corruption.
You must always remember that our cause is a collective enshrined in the 3 Cs – Cooperation, Coordination and Communication. Therefore, your needs are a shared concern, just as we come together to take pride in our success. I call upon your individual resolve to make the cause of justice a personal commitment and together let us continue to move a notch higher. I would like to assure you that I will do whatever is within my power to ensure better and more dignified working conditions, cultivate strategic partnerships that build our common interests, and above all, endear professionalism in our work.


Once again, I welcome you all to this historic event, where we join hands to close yet another chapter in our pursuit of justice for all, and at the same time pave the road ahead for a new episode.
It is now my honour and pleasure to declare the 22nd Annual Joint JLOS Government of Uganda – Development Partners Review open.


Bart M. Katureebe
CHIEF JUSTICE AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE JLOS LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE.

Published in Latest News
Monday, 16 October 2017 12:32

Chief Justice Visits U.S State Department

 

WASHINGTON, DC: The Chief Justice, Bart M. Katureebe, on Tuesday October 10 2017 visited the United State of America’s State Department where he held a high-level meeting with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Randy Berry.

Leading a delegation of Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) key players and the International Justice Mission officials, the CJ engaged the department on matters of human rights and independence of the courts, freedom of expression and support to civil society structures.

Mr Berry said his Department is keenly interested in issues of the rule of law, access to justice particularly elimination of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

He expressed gratitude towards the partnership between IJM and Uganda's JLOS and hoped it will go a long way in supporting Uganda Judiciary and JLOS’ initiatives in improving access to justice.

The CJ said that improving access to justice is a fundamental issue now facing the courts and the entire justice sector.

“The sector has put in place a number of innovations geared at improving access to justice for all persons in Uganda but more particularly the marginalised and vulnerable groups,” said Justice Katureebe. “These include Plea Bargaining, Sentencing Guidelines, Audio-Visual Link technology, computerisation of court processes, gender-based training, development and publication of gender and other bench books, among others.”

CJ further noted that Uganda has taken the approach of creating Justice Centres to ensure presence of the police, the prosecution, the courts, the prisons and probation service. This is to ensure that the whole chain is complete from investigation, prosecution, adjudication, correctional and psycho-social support.

He said the major issue is resourcing of the Sector to be able to have a presence and competent human resource throughout the country.

The State Department also expressed interest in traditional and local systems of dispute resolution which have the capacity of easing the burden on the formal courts.

The Department was informed about Uganda’s system of Local Council Courts, which are currently non-operational because of absence of elected Local Councils. The local council system is yet to be fully developed. The transitional justice system is also undergoing development in Uganda.

CJ noted that there is need identify the causes of human rights abuses to identify the causes, one of which being inadequate training on the part of JLOS actors.

The CJ highlighted the importance of the Judicial Training Institute in the Judiciary, adding that there was need to effectively resource it so it can build the capacity of the various JLOS actors through regular trainings.

In a related development, the Chief Justice and team also met with US House of Representatives Congressman Chris Smith, the Chair of the African Sub-Committee for Foreign Affairs together with other members of the Congress.

Congressman Smith said that issues of violence against women and children constitute one of the greatest challenges facing many countries in the World. He further stated that human trafficking, particularly for sex and labour exploitation, is awfully real and ought to be fought by everyone at all fronts.

The Chief Justice said Uganda was looking at getting as many partners as possible in a bid to effectively execute the respective mandates of each institution of government and civil society.

“The reason for coming out here therefore is to borrow best practices and to confer with our partners on the best way to address these issues. We have had effective partnerships with IJM and Pepperdine University which we are building on,” he said.

 

Agreed issues of mutual cooperation and assistance include:

a) Training of judicial officers and other justice actors in the specific areas of SGBV and human trafficking to ensure a competent and effective administration of justice. 

b) Advocacy towards improved support to ensure strong governance and strong justice institutions.

c) Targeted assistance to particular programs in the JLOS sector; programs that will make a significant improvement to access to justice for the common person. Taking care of the rights of the lowest person means protection to all

 

By Andrew Khaukha // Published: October 16, 2017

Published in Latest News

 

WASHINGTON DC: United States-based International Justice Mission (IJM) has renewed its commitment to develop Uganda’s expertise for the efficient and professional administration of justice.

The Chief Justice, Bart M. Katureebe, on Monday October 9,2017 signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IJM on behalf of the Uganda Government of Uganda – Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) at the IJM Headquarters in Washington D.C.

The support will be concentrated towards capacity building in areas of reducing case backlog, improving case management and management of records and court registries, plea bargaining and sentencing guidelines.

Other areas of support will include improving court recording management and filing, internship and externship programmes, judgment writing and general promoting innovations in the administration of justice, with particular regard to the indigent, marginalised and victims of gender based violence and violence against children.

In attendance included Uganda Ambassador to the US, Mull Katende; Solicitor General, Francis Atoke, Judiciary Chief Registrar, Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa; and Deputy DPP, Alfred Olem-Ogwal. Others included JLOS Senior Technical Advisor, Rachael Odoi Musoke; Judiciary Technical Advisor, Andrew Khaukha; Private Legal Secretary to the Chief Justice, Boniface Wamala, and a number of senior IJM officials.

In his remarks, the Chief Justice thanked IJM for the work they are doing in Uganda and globally. He said many people in Uganda and the world at large live amidst untold injustice, yet efforts to address such injustices are never enough. “I am delighted that organisations like IJM come in to support the Judiciary in alleviating such human suffering. The activities of IJM are central to the goal of improving access to Justice,” said Justice Katureebe.

The new MoU is an expansion of an earlier one that was between the Uganda Judiciary and IJM with the object of expanding and enhancing mutual cooperation in strategic areas.

Under the old MoU, the IJM has carried out a number of access to Justice initiatives in the districts of Mukono, Gulu, Fort Portal and Kamwenge.

In partnership with the Ugandan Judiciary, the organisation launched two model court houses, operationalising an electronic case administration system, organising more than 100,000 court records, installing and operationalising a stenographic recording system, and developing workflow improvements to enhance efficiency.

IJM also worked with the police and prosecutors to bring criminal cases against perpetrators – especially in cases of violence and property grabbing crimes. #

 

By Andrew Khaukha // Published: October 16, 2017

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ENTEBBE - President Yoweri Museveni has sworn in new Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo, in a Saturday afternoon function at State House, Entebbe. Different stakeholders who included justices, members of the Judicial Service Commissioners, representatives of security agencies, the Ministry of the Presidency Esther Mbayo and the Head of Public Service, Mr. John Mitala, were in attendance.


The President appreciated the outgoing DCJ, Steven B.K. Kavuma, who was also in attendance with hid wife, Ruth Kavuma, for his long service for both the country  and the Judiciary. He also congratulated Justice Owiny-Dollo on his new appointment.


Mr. Museveni called for discipline within the three arms of the state: Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. “Discipline is crucial. If implemented by all the arms of the State, the country will move forward, “ he said, adding that he instilled discipline in the armed forces, in spite of their low salaries.
“If the Judiciary is disciplined in fighting corruption, the citizens of country would be happy.”


The President said he is aware of some of the Judiciary challenges like personnel numbe and workload. He however, said some impact could be registered with the limited resources.“You do not have to be everywhere…..you can utilize the meagre resources to do more becase not all cases are the same. You may for instance prioritise murder, rape, defilement and commercial cases,” he said.


Earlier, the Chief Justice, Bart .M. Katureebe, thanked the President for “injecting fresh blood in the Judiciary Top Management”.  The CJ appealed to the President to give the Judiciary another push to ensure that the Administration of Judiciary Bill as well as supporting the issue of officers retiring with all their benefits.
He equally said he supports the idea of judicial officers having to retire with their benefits, adding that if funds are unavailable now, “a commencement date could be agreed”.


Different speakers including the Attorney General, Mr. William Byaruhanga, thanked the outgoing DCJ, Steven Kavuma for his dedicated service to his country. According to Justice Katureebe, he and Justice Kavuma were in the same university class together in 1971 and joined the Attorney General’s Chambers together in 1975.

 

Source: Judiciary / Published: October 2, 2017

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017 15:27

Judiciary ICT Strategy Launched

 

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has today launched a 5-year ICT that will see most of the court activities automated to facilitate efficient delivery of justice.

At the same occasion, the Judiciary also launched the Small Claims Procedure Annual Performance Report 2015/16, indicating a rise in court users' recoveries using this new justice innovation to Shs8 billion.

The ICT Strategy would, among other things, ensure that court users who cannot appear in court physically due to various reasons like infancy, old age, distance and costs can give their testimony via audiovisual link.

While officially launching the Strategy, the Hon. Katureebe thanked President Museveni for fulfilling his pledge of supporting the Judiciary to automate its courts. He said the government so far provided Shs6 billion to start the implementation of the Strategy, out of the Shs36 billion required.

“You remember two years ago, when the President had a meeting with the judges and we presented a budget of over Shs36 billion for over a five-year period and the President directed the Ministry of Finance to look into it and start. So this must be one of the promises that has finally come through and I am very grateful,” said the Chief Justice.

"I want to thank the colleagues from the Ministry of Finance for having provided Shs6 billion to start with and we are hoping that it will be sustained."

Hon. Katureebe also tasked the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Judiciary, Mr Kagole Kivumbi, to ensure that the funds received for the ICT Strategy are fully utilised, without waste.

“Every cent here in this project, will have to go towards what is supposed to do. You may wonder why we are here under the sun instead of being in a hotel somewhere, we want every cent to go on this project and we want this project to succeed and we want to account to the people who have given us this money,” said the Chief Justice.

Explaining the importance of the ICT Strategy launch, Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, who chairs Judiciary's Technology Committee, said court users would follow their court cases on smartphones, a scenario he said would reduce human to human contact that will help in curbing petty corruption.

On the Small Claims Procedure (SCP) Performance and Activity Report for the years 2015/16, Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, who also chairs the SCP Implementation Committee, said the posted financial recoveries by court litigants is a significant and it translates into a huge number of court users who have benefited from this innovation that was launched in 2012.

SCP was established by the Judiciary to adjudicate over claims whose subject matter does not exceed Shs10m and a lawyer is not involved. Such matters that are usually quickly disposed off like in less than a month, arise from supply of goods, debts or rent arrears among other commercial disputes.

Also the new report indicates that among the 11 pilot SCP courts, Mengo Court registered the highest activity as regards the filing of cases that fall under the category of Small Claims. 

Mengo registered 500 cases and disposed off 437 of them in the last financial year, followed by Makindye court that registered 359 cases and disposed off 338 of them.

Justice David Wangutusi, who heads the High Court Commercial Division, said he is also a beneficiary of the Small Claims Procedure. He explained that after chasing after his tenant for long without paying rent,  he opted to Small Claims and that his sturbon tenant cleared him the following day.

 

Source: Judiciary / Published: September 20, 2017

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The Judiciary has developed a robust Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategy. It is expected that within the next three years, an e-justice will have been operationalized.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe revealed this on Friday while inaugurating the Legal Aid innovations conference at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

Katureebe said it was imperative that the Government facilitates the development of a legal aid policy and law, adopts a-state-funded legal aid scheme and strengthens community-led initiatives, such as local council courts and a paralegal advisory system that would fill the existing gaps in legal aid service provision.

He, however, regretted that the system was still struggling to eliminate case backlog, which he said was one of the greatest systemic barriers against access to justice.

“The sector is also still grappling with the fact that most Justice Law and Orders Sector (JLOS) institutions remain largely urban-based and unavailable in 18% of the district, while 41% of the institutions operate from premises not fit for the purpose.

The justice system is further faced with many other constraints in service delivery that include lack of modern ICT equipment and reliance on manual processes, low budgetary support to sector institutions, limited legal reference materials, poor remuneration and conditions of service for judicial officers and other staff within the institutions and limited knowledge of the law and human rights by the majority population, among others,” Katureebe further lamented.

He said a report by The Hague Institute for Innovation and the Law (HIIL) on Justice Needs 2016 also revealed that 88% of Ugandans experienced difficulty in accessing justice in the past four years, with land and family cases being rated as the top two most critical disputes.

Katureebe noted that only 18% of the Ugandan population receives legal aid services annually, which leaves the majority, especially the poor and most vulnerable, unable to access justice.      

Katureebe said that such a situation leads to frustration sometimes, culminating into criminality manifesting in acts such as suicide and use of extra judicial means like mob justice, which creates insecurity to the population.

 

He noted that there is an acute shortage of legal practitioners in rural areas and that the legal aid service providers currently available provide project-led interventions, which are not sustainable. 

“Our focus should be on what work for the ordinary persons who form the majority of our population. Once we develop a simple, user-friendly and cost effective justice system, the majority will be satisfied and the rates of satisfaction will hit through the roof, which will have unprecedented impact on the public confidence in the administration of justice in this country,” Katureebe stressed.

 

 

Source: New Vision / Published: September 11, 2017

 

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The Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) in collaboration with Barefoot Law and with support from the Democratic Governance Facility will this week hold the first ever legal aid innovations conference from September 7-8, 2017 at Hotel Africana. The conference is aimed at providing a platform to showcase innovations in legal aid service provision. The Hon. Chief Justice is expected to officially open the conference.

The innovations conference will also provide space to network and share good practices in legal aid service delivery especially low cost initiatives that increase efficiency in accessing justice. 

The Hill-Innovating Justice boostcamp will also be part of the conference on day 2 where the 2017 semi-finalists for the HiLL Challenge will be selected.

For more information visit / to register, visit the conference website: www.laicon.org. Follow the 2017 Legal Aid Innovations Conference on twitter via hashtag #LAICON2017

 

By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: September 4, 2017

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JO'BURG - Leaders who offer themselves for elective politics must have the humility to respect the voters that put them into power, the Chief Justice said at an international Leadership Forum.

Justice Bart Katureebe, on Thursday called for the “respect for the rights of the citizens and indeed for rule of law should not be done to please Western powers but because the citizens deserve it”.

The Chief Justice is attending the African Leadership Forum at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, organized under the auspices of former South African president’s Thabo Mbeki Foundation and former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa’s Uogonzi Institute.

Other distinguished leaders  present are: former Presidents: Bakili Muluzi (Malawi), Jakaya Kikwete(Tanzania), Mahamed Marzoki (Tunisia), Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Ali Mahdi Muhammad (Somalia), Mohamed Moncef Marzouki (Tunisia) and other government officials and Academicians from around Africa.

In his panel discussion on the topic: Good Governance and the Rule of Law, which he did together with ex-Presidents: Jakaya Kikwete and Ali Mahdi Muhammad. Hon. Justice Bart Katureebe noted that investment and empowering institutions that guarantee good governance and the rule of law is a prerequisite to development.

He challenged the authorities responsible for planning for and allocation of resources to give priority to institutions that guarantee good governance and the rule of law otherwise all investment will be in vain.

 

He decried poor facilitation of the Judiciary and other Law and Order institutions in many countries, including Uganda.

 

SOURCE: The Judiciary | Published: August 25, 2017

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KAMPALA - The Chief Justice Hon. Justice Bart Katurebe this morning officially opened a new auditorium at the Law Development Centre. Present at this function were stakeholders from the Justice, Law and Order Sector and development partners led by the Netherlands Ambassador to Uganda. H.E Henk Jan Bakker. 

The idea of an auditorium at LDC was hatched in the 2007/2008 financial year. Construction was funded by the Government of Uganda with support from the JLOS development partners. The auditorium can accommodate up to one thousand (1000) people and is set to contribute to legal education by providing space for general lectures, guest speakers, moot competitions and generating money from external users who will pay for space (Hiring this new facility costs 6m per day). The ultramodern auditorium at LDC is equipped with modern seats, public address system and is air-conditioned.

The Honorable Chief justice at the same event also launched three volumes of the Uganda Law Reports for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. These are important legal tools, which provide precedents to judges at the bench and Lawyers at the Bar.  The law reports are also helpful to law students and legal researchers.

 

Published: August 11, 2017 // By Edgar Kuhimbisa 

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