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The Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) has commenced a radio sensitization campaign to create countrywide awareness for the planned pilot Special Court Sessions targeting Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases over the course of five weeks. The initiative, which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund, is part of Government of Uganda's commitment to implement the Maputo Protocol and Kampala Declaration of 2011.

The sensitization campaign is targeting audiences in the 13 selected districts across the country started yesterday in Iganga and will proceed to northeastern Uganda, the north, central and lastly in the southwestern Uganda district of Bushenyi.

The 13 special sessions to fast track the disposal of SGBV cases are due to commence on 12th November 2018 in the High Courts circuits of MBALE, MASAKA, GULU, BUSHENYI, MUKONO, KAMPALA, SOROTI and MOROTO, as well as the Chief Magistrates Courts of NABWERU, LIRA, SIRONKO, KAPCHORWA and IGANGA. At least 1,000 cases are targeted for disposal during the pilot sessions.

On 2nd November the JLOS undertook the training of over 130 stakeholders (Judges, Magistrates, State Attorneys, Advocates and Civil society actors in the management of SGBV Court cases. Key aspects of the training included were trained on November 2, 2018 on the best practices to be used during the planned sessions.

According to Solomon Muyita, the Judiciary Senior Communications Officer, the Justice sector stakeholders such as the judicial officers, Resident State Attorneys and representatives of Uganda Law Society in the targeted districts will take the lead in the awareness drive on radio.

Yesterday afternoon, Judiciary Public Relations Officer, Vincent Emmy Mugabo; Iganga Chief Magistrate, HW Hellen Ajio; Senior Resident State Attorney-Iganga, Ariwala Kizito; and Mr. Muyita,  appeared on a talk show on Eye Radio 94.6FM for the sensitisation. This morning the team is in Mbale with Chief Magistrate Mawanda Ereemye, RSA Noah Kunya taking the lead on Step F.M. 

The media campaigns will run hand-in-hand with the pre-session stakeholder meetings at the various courts.

 

Published: 7th November 2018

Published in Latest News

 

The Justice, Law and Order Sector is implementing a pilot project to dispose of SGBV cases through special sessions in select sites to feed into government’s efforts and commitments to promote and protect the rights of women and children who are the main victims of GBV as elaborated under the Elimination of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Policy of 2017. 

The purpose of the sessions is to test or pilot the possibility of establishing a specialised mechanism to try cases of SGBV, which are some of the fastest growing offences in Uganda and a threat to the initiative of the government of Uganda to promote the girl child and to eliminate discrimination against women generally. The sessions are also being organised as part of the government’s commitment under the Maputo Declaration on Gender Mainstreaming and the effective Mainstreaming and the Effective Participation of Women in African Union; the Kampala Declaration on the fight against SGBV in the Great Lakes Region, (2011); and the sustainable Development Goals 5 which have prioritized elimination of gender inequality and SGBV.  

The project also feeds into JLOS initiatives to ensure that its services and programmes are gender and equity sensitive. It is one such affirmative action measure that is intended to create a justice system that is responsive to all people in Uganda. The pilot will feed into the Sector Case backlog Reduction Strategy which seeks to enhance access to justice through fast and equitable disposal of cases. 

As a precursor to the pilot, justice actors were brought together in the planning and implementation of the project to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to handling of cases in order to not only reduce SGBV case backlog by fast tracking case disposal but also to enhance access to justice services for the survivors of SGBV. The pilot will be used as a platform to inform a catalogue of best practices to be applied in dealing with GBV cases at the yet to be created special division and ultimately contribute to implementation of the sector Case Backlog Reduction Strategy of 2017.

A pre- session training and experience sharing session to equip the justice actors on handling of GBV cases, development of simplified procedures or evidence requirements to promote speedy and victim friendly procedures, and development of resource materials with the latest best practices on management of SGBV cases has also been undertaken. 

A number of jurisdictions such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, UK and the USA have established special courts with results such as enhanced access to justice for women and children, speedy and successful completion of cases, improved conviction rates, reduction of case backlog, and improved confidence in the judicial system in those nations. 

The sessions will entail handling of GBV cases at specific locations at High Court and Chief Magistrate level. Working with the office of the Registrars and the prisons, cause-lists mainly based on the First In, First Out (FIFO) rule have been drawn for the cases to be heard. Specific judicial officers including Magistrates and Judges have been assigned to hear the cases which are scheduled to take place for a period of 40 days to dispose 50 cases per session. The project will target 13 sessions of 50 cases at High Court and Chief Magistrates level.  The pilot courts are: Soroti, Mbale, Moroto, Gulu, Mukono, Masaka, Bushenyi and Kampala (High courts) and Nabweru, Iganga, Lira, Sironko and Kapchorwa (Chief Magistrate’s Courts). Consideration has been given to statistics and equity to inform the selection of project areas to inform holistic and comprehensive best practices and lessons. 

The project will facilitate expeditious disposal of cases in a gender responsive and victim friendly manner to advance access to justice for survivors and improve the experience of the survivors in the justice system; reduce backlog of SGBV cases; enhance collaboration and strategic partnership between the justice actors and key stakeholders; improve provision of related services for victims/survivors of GBV and enhanced information sharing between litigants, judges, attorneys, victims and community members.

Publicity and information sharing activities have already commenced to ensure the needed information and knowledge of SGBV is availed to the public to facilitate appropriate responses to issues of SGBV. It is hoped that this will build more confidence in the justice system and improve access to justice.

The project is also focusing on improving justice outcomes for victims by ensuring that Victim Impact Statements (VIS) as provided for under S.55 (3) of the Sentencing Guidelines of 2013 are availed for all the victims. The objective of the VIS is to ensure that victim input is accounted for during sentencing and prior to any hearing relevant to the offenders release or other form of sentence The VIS which has been a neglected aspect of the criminal justice system in getting the full detail of what impact a particular crime has had on a victim is a written document. Under this activity, a training of all Probation and Social Welfare Officers from the pilot has undertaken on the sensitivities of collecting information on the impact of crime on victims. 

 

A coordinated and collaborative approach among all the key stakeholders is at the centre of this project.

 

For more information on the SGBV Pilot, contact the JLOS Secretariat

Published in Projects
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 13:35

Training on Police Form 3 and Protocols

The Justice Law and Order Sector under the leadership of Uganda Police Force and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, with guidance of the Ministry of Health, in a bid to enhance access to medical services for survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases, amended the Police Forms 3 and 24A.

Published in Latest News

 

 

Background

 

In the course of reporting a crime involving sexual violence as provided for under the Penal Code Act of Uganda Cap 120 Laws of Uganda, survivors must obtain a medical examination form from the police, also known as a Police Form 3 (PF3) in order to be examined by a Health Practioner. The PF3, used to document physical or other injury, is divided into two sections to be completed by a police officer and a Health Practioner. While under Ugandan law, proof of any crime does not exclusively rely on medical evidence, the PF3 is often critical to the successful prosecution of cases involving sexual violence. Indeed, police usually do not pursue further investigation of cases without the PF3 form.

 

The Police Form 3 is a document that is given to a victim or survivor of a crime after an assessment by the police officer that there is reasonable basis to believe that an offence has been committed against the victim or survivor. It is made under the Police Act of 2006 as amended.

 

Rationale for amendment of the Police forms

 

The original Police Form 3 and its appendix were found to be lacking in facilitating a comprehensive examination of victims of crimes. The forms were ambiguous especially for medical personnel who were tasked with completing them. This ambiguity affected prosecutions in court due to the numerous interpretations the form elicited thus creating reasonable doubt in the mind of the judicial officer. In addition, the Form had become obsolete following the amendment of the defilement law under section 129 of the Penal Code Act in 2007 in which the term sexual activity was legally re-defined and the concept of aggravated defilement was introduced.

 

There was a need to widen the parameters for medical examination across the board to enrich the contents and findings therein. The previous forms had created disharmony between court evidentiary requirements and the services actually rendered and available to survivors. Every victim of a sexual crime/assault was previously required to undergo medical examination by a medical officer who in most cases is a police surgeon. There are very few police surgeons on the ground and mainly based in urban areas. Accessing justice then became difficult for those in rural areas or those who had difficulty accessing a medical officer, for financial and other reasons.

 

With the aforementioned reasons in mind and the concerns about the inadequacy of the original PF3, UNFPA through the UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality supported the Sector through the Criminal Justice Working Group meetings to revise the PF 3 form.

 

Police Forms 3, 3A and 24A which are used to assist the prosecution of crimes involving sexual violence under the Penal Code Act have been amended with several significant changes. The main change is the provision that registered Midwives and Clinical Officers are now authorized to examine a survivor, document evidence and testify in court. Previously, only medical officers could perform these tasks. The revisions to the Forms were approved and signed off by the Director of Public Prosecutions and Inspector General of Police on 13 September 2011.

 

Justification

 

The Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) is a sector wide approach (SWAP) that brings together 17 institutions with closely linked mandates for administering justice maintaining law and order and promoting the observance of human rights, to developing a common vision, policy framework, unified 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 Uganda Police Force, the Judiciary, Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development are all part of the institutions that constitute JLOS. As such JLOS in close consultation with the Ministry of Health is ideally placed to coordinate training of stakeholders on the amended police forms.

 

JLOS will coordinate trainings on the revised forms in 9 regions of the country. The trainings will target a number of stakeholders including members of the medical profession (medical officers, midwives and clinical officers), judicial officers; State Attorneys and Prosecutors and Police officers.

 

The trainings will provide an opportunity for the following:

  • Explain changes to the forms. This will include raising awareness of the revisions and the fact that midwives and clinical officers now have the ability to complete the forms.
  • Increase capacity of stakeholders on how to use and complete the revised forms.
  • Discuss challenges to administration of police forms in the past including reports that survivors have been forced to pay for the forms and suggest solutions to the challenges.
  • Raise awareness among stakeholders on strategies to prevent and respond to gender based violence more generally.

 

The key areas to be covered in will be;

  • Laws on sexual offences and Court procedure
  • The Evidence Act, expert witnesses, expectations of the DPP, techniques of evidence giving
  • Psychiatric effects of SGBV and the assessment and management thereof.
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Drugs and sexual violence
  • Basic principles of counseling and psycho-social support
  • The anatomy of the male and female genitalia
  • Rape in the absence of trauma
  • SGBV medical management protocols
  • The police forms and Guidelines for the filling of the forms
  • Medical ethics in SGBV and examination of suspects
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Forensic injury interpretation
  • Forensic specimen management

 

Objectives

 

The trainings will achieve the following results:

  1. Increase awareness on changes to the forms.
  2. Build capacity of stakeholders on how to use and complete the revised forms.
  3. Provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss challenges and solutions for implementation.
  4. Demystify the court procedures and process for expert witnesses
  5. Ensure collaboration and synergy between different stakeholders along the referral pathways for use and dissemination of the new forms and implementation.
  6. Increase awareness of gender based violence and strategies for prevention and response.
  7. Improve on the knowledge, skills and attitudes of stakeholders in the forensic and medical management and cases of sexual violence.
  8. Equip the health workers with basic knowledge of the legal system in Uganda and the laws related to sexual offences in order to enable them testify in courts of law.
  9. Enhance the psychiatric and counselling skills of the health workers to enable them offer psycho-social support to the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence
  10. Introduce the health workers to the police Form 3, 3A and 24A for the documentation of forensic evidence in cases of sexual assault.

 

The trainings will be conducted by a team of specially trained persons who comprised the following categories; pathologist, lawyers, obstetricians/gynaecologists and other medical specialists.

 

The UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality will be providing financial support for the trainings. The United Nations Joint Programme on Gender Equality in Uganda (UNJPGE) is a five year programme (2010 2014) coordinated by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), involving ten UN Agencies, six Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and two national CSO networks advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

 

 

For more information about the Revision of PF3 Trainings, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Advisor (Criminal Justice) | Published: October 17, 2013

Published in Projects