On October 27 2016, the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) held the 21st Annual review at Speke Resort Munyonyo. DOWNLOAD the assessment of the Sector 2015/16 performance by our Development Partners below:
The Four years of implementation of the Third Strategic Investment Plan (SIP III) have been a concerted and combined effort of Government, JLOS stakeholders and Development Partners that has resulted in increased public trust, increased stakeholder engagement, awareness and higher satisfaction by the people who seek services from JLOS institutions.
In terms of impact, public confidence in JLOS institutions has increased significantly from the baseline average of 26% in 2012 to 48%, while public knowledge about JLOS services and institutions has increased to over 90% in 2015/16 on the average. Public engagement with JLOS institutions and use of JLOS services grew three fold on the average compared to the baselines.
For those persons that have accessed JLOS services the level of satisfaction has increased from the average baseline position of 59% to 72%. The index of judicial independence grew by 22% from 2.8 in 2014/15 to 3.41 in 2015/16, implying that judicial processes in Uganda have become more independent. The country’s judicial independence ranking too has improved from position 128 in 2014 to 91 in 2015/16 according the Global Competitiveness Report, 2016.
According to the World Justice Project Report 2015 Uganda is ranked 68th in the World, 9th Africa and the first in East Africa in accessibility and affordability of civil justice with a score of 0.43 out of 1 this is comparable to USA which has a score of 0.47 out of 1. The country is also ranked in the 1st position in East Africa and 12th in Africa in effectiveness of criminal investigation, adjudication and correctional systems as well as controlling criminal and civil conflict and the fight against violence (order and security) with a score of 0.61 out of 1.
The sector monitored and processed 10 critical bills that impact on JLOS service delivery including the fight against corruption, regulation of CSO’s, elections, functionality of LCCs, and vulnerability among others. Laws were also enacted are that will promote national development objectives and improve the environment for doing business in Uganda. As a result of the interventions in legal reform and other innovations, Uganda moved from position 135 in 2014 to 122 in 2015/16 in the doing business index. While the Global Competitiveness Report 2015/2016 ranks Uganda’s competitiveness at position 115 out of 144 countries in the world. In terms of protection of property rights, Uganda’s ranking improved from position 112 in 2014 to 97 in 2015/16 and its property rights index also increased by 14.4% from 3.4 in 2014 to 3.89 in 2015/16.
The sector is now functionally present in 82% of the districts compared to 75% functional presence in 2014/15. Also the number of districts with a complete chain of infrastructure for frontline JLOS services increased from 53% in 2014/15 to 59.8% in 2015/16 following completion of various construction projects in UPF, UPS, Court and DPP.
Following appointment of staff, increased use of initiatives such as plea bargaining, investments in staff training, enhanced coordination and performance management the sector recorded a 20% reduction in pending cases, posting a case clearance rate of 125%. As a result, the average length of stay on remand reduced from 10.5 months to 10.4 months for capital offenders and case backlog reduced from 32% in 2014/15 to 25% in 2015/16. Use of ADR recorded a resounding success with a 55% success rate compared to 26% in 2014/15 arising out of investments in training and advocacy.
The crime rate reduced from 298 per 100,000 in 2014 to 296 per 100,000 in the reporting period despite the election period because of improved crime response and coordination of criminal justice agencies. Also the quality of investigation and prosecution improved as shown in the high conviction rate of 61% over the reporting period.
The sector continued to invest in correctional services and rehabilitation of offenders which resulted in a reduction in the rate of recidivism from 27% in 2014/15 to 21%. This is one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world.
The number of children arrested per 100,000 child population reduced to 8.4 compared to 9.4 for every 100,000 child population in 2014/15 and 84.1% diversion rate of juveniles from formal judicial proceedings was registered. The challenge however is the higher than targeted number of children on remand per 100,000 standing at 2.07 for every 100,000 child population compared to the targeted 01 child per 100,000 child population.
In terms of human rights observance, the number of reported human rights violations by JLOS agencies reduced by 41% during the reporting period. This is partly due to the adoption of a human rights culture and accountability and sensitisation of police and prisons that have always featured high in terms of human rights violations.
Improvements were recorded in UPS with 90% of the prison units eliminating the Bucket system and there are on-going efforts to provide decent water-borne sanitation facilities in all prisons by the end of 2017. However, the welfare of prison warders and lower police cadres remains largely unaddressed, especially with respect to housing and living conditions. In addition, the congestion in prisons remains high with the existing holding capacity exceeded by up to two times.
The fight against corruption is on course with 12% increased case disposal and improved internal disciplinary mechanisms that were implemented. The Chief Justice strengthened the inspectorate function in Judiciary, by appointing a Justice of the Supreme Court as Chief Inspector of Courts.
The performance would have been much higher; however, the sector faces various challenges that must be addressed to enhance or even maintain the current levels of performance. One of the challenges is the slow, expensive and complex business processes that are largely manual. These among others have led to prevalence of high lead times, increased cost of access, opportunistic corruption and slow decision making. It is therefore important to re-engineer and automate most of the business processes.
Challenges also still remain with case disposal in some areas such as the Human Rights Commission and Judicial Service Commission that were affected by the expiry of the terms of service of their Commissioners. These institutions need to be supported to clear their backlog.
The sector institutions remain largely urban based and unavailable in 18% of the districts while many operate from premises not fit for the purpose. This is compounded by the high cost of rent which has eroded funds required for critical operations. There is therefore need to fast track the construction of the JLOS house project and justice centres country wide. Efforts should also be put at opening new service points and deconcentrating service delivery. The concept of a one stop centre should also be strengthened.
The other challenge is the changing crime trends and proliferation of new crimes such as cybercrime, trafficking in persons, terrorism, white collar crime and other violent crime including sex and gender based violence which tests the preparedness of most crime fighting agencies. This is made worse by the fact that the more sophisticated crimes that are cross border crimes in nature are on the rise. There is need to enhance crime response and invest in strategies to prevent the occurrence of such crimes.
Justice delivery is a function of numbers. The sector requires the right number of staff both in quantity and quality to deliver effective and expeditious services. This is not possible with the current judge to population ratio of 1: 720,000, a police to population ratio of 1:764, and warder to prisoner ratio of 1:7.
One of the factors that continue to dampen public confidence in the justice system is corruption both real and perceived. It is therefore necessary that the sector efforts to fully implement its anti-corruption strategy are supported. Initiatives to deal with public complaints should be strengthened and supported while internal disciplinary processes should be respected.
By and large, given the performance of the sector over the SIPIII period and during the reporting period, there is a strong belief that enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery enhances public satisfaction and grows public trust. It is therefore important that efforts which promote greater public satisfaction with JLOS services should be harnessed and strengthened under the proposed new strategic planning framework. In addition, the 3cs (communication, coordination and cooperation) which is the foundation upon which the sector is built should be demystified among all sector stakeholders for the sector remain valid, vocal and visible.
[Adopted from the 2015/16 JLOS Annual Performance Report]
The Honourable Chief Justice of Uganda
The Honourable Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda
The Honourable Principal Judge
My Lords, Justices and Judges of the Courts of Judicature
Your Excellency, the Head of delegation of the European Union and Chairperson of the JLOS Development Partners Group
Your Excellences, Heads of Diplomatic Missions to Uganda
Honourable Members of Parliament
Heads of JLOS Institutions
Members of the JLOS Steering and Technical Committees
Members of the JLOS Coordination Committees
Distinguished invited guests in your respective capacities
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I welcome you all to the 21st Joint Annual Review of the JLOS Sector for the financial year 2015/16.
This review focuses on the fourth year of implementation of the third JLOS Strategic Investment Plan (JLOS SIP III) which is also the 16th year of the JLOS Sector Wide Approach arrangement. The theme of this year’s annual review is “A pro people justice system: Building public trust”. This ties in well with the Sector undertaking under SIP III, to address the issue of vulnerability to enhance access to justice for the marginalized and eliminate all forms of bottlenecks in accessing JLOS services.
The JLOS Sector has grown over the years from nascent formation phases in 1999, harnessed synergies under the sector wide approach to now one of the most effective and integrated sector arrangements. As many of you may recall, we started with the SIP I phase from 2000 to 2004 with a focus on structural developments and formation, SIP II that covered 2005 to 2010 focused on consolidation of gains and achievements under SIP II. When we developed and commenced the SIP III, our strategic focus was to have a strategic policy shift to focus on deepening reforms and entrench pro poor people centered justice. To-date, the Sector-Wide Approach (SWAp) has grown to 18 institutions across civil and criminal justice spheres.
The JLOS Sector report will be presented at both the outcome and output levels in line with the JLOS SIP III indicators and performance bench marks. The report portrays the achievements of the Sector from implementation of programs and interventions by the 18 Justice institutions.
The Sector has registered improved coordination right from the District level where District Chain linked Committees are operational, enhanced the quality of justice services delivered to the public, and increased geographical coverage as a result of opening up of new service delivery points. You will for instance observe from the presentations that will be made today, that the sector’s coverage of districts increased by 7% from 75% in the previous year, to now 82%. In practical terms, the Police has expanded its presence to all sub-counties in the country, the High Court Circuit has been expanded to 19 circuits, and Chief Magisterial areas increased over two fold to 81.
I recognize and extend gratitude to the JLOS Development Partners that have stood by us and provided both technical and financial support towards the implementation of many of the Sector’s programs and interventions. In addition, I also recognize the crucial role played by various Non-Governmental Organizations such as the Legal Aid Service Providers’ Network, in complementing the Sector’s interventions. As partners in development, we believe that our success is a shared success and this underpins the purpose of our convergence today.
I take this opportunity to thank all JLOS institutions for the effort made over the past financial year. Special mention goes to the JLOS Secretariat and the Sector Policy Planning Units. Substantial achievements have been registered despite the number of challenges and limitations encountered.
I once again thank you for setting time off your busy schedules to be part of this year’s annual review. I look forward to a constructive dialogue with a view of achieving our common goal of ensuring justice for all.
I invite the Honourable Chief Justice to give his address.
Hon. Kahinda Otafiire
MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
My Lord, the Deputy Chief Justice
My Lord, the Principal Judge
Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court
Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal
Honourable Judges of the High Court
Your Excellence the Head of Delegation of the European Union and Chairperson JLOS Development Partners Group
Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Uganda
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 Committee
Heads of Government Agencies and Departments
Partners and stakeholders from Civil Society and Private Sector
Ladies and Gentlemen
I welcome you all to the 21st Joint Annual JLOS Government of Uganda – Development Partners Review. As with past reviews, this is a day we set aside to review performance and discuss the challenges that the Sector has faced in the past year.
This is a particularly important review as it considers our performance towards the end of implementation of the 3rd Sector Strategic Investment Plan and it comes at a time when we are designing our 4th Investment Plan.
The Sector has undertaken a mid–term evaluation of the Strategic Investment Plan and a report to that effect is to be launched in the near future. This year’s performance report should therefore be able to provide a baseline against which we can review our progress by marking where we stand as of now in terms of the targets that were set by ourselves and by identifying outstanding challenges.
Building a trustworthy justice system for the benefit of all
This year’s review is being held under the theme “A Pro-people Justice System: Building Public Trust”. This theme reiterates our goal to strengthen the justice system, promote the rule of law and enhance the public trust and confidence in our ability to provide a safe and just society in which the economy can thrive and each Ugandan is supported to achieve their full potential.
Over the past years, we have taken measures to create greater access to our services and improve the quality of care that we provide to our clients. We have worked to create a more certain legal and policy environment and a more conducive environment for doing business. We have also made progress in addressing crime, improving the observance of human rights and strived to improve our accountability internally while at the same time holding others accountable to the public. In our report today, we will demonstrate the progress we have made so far.
In addition to the foregoing, we have also worked to ensure that people in Uganda have a better understanding of the Justice system and believe that it can serve their needs. Building public trust in the justice system is a pre-requisite to the entrenchment of the rule of law because Rule of Law basically presupposes accessibility to the law, equality before the law, observance of human rights, speedy resolution of disputes, fair trials and the consistent application of the law. As you will note from our report, these are the issues that we prioritized under our strategic plan. Therefore as we take stock today of our achievements and challenges, we are also looking ahead at what we still need to do to achieve the above stated noble goal.
Our findings and those of our partners and stakeholders demonstrate that we have made some strides in this regard. The report of the mid-term review indicates that public confidence in JLOS institutions has increased from 26% in 2012 to 48% currently and public knowledge of the JLOS institutions now stands at 90%. Satisfaction levels with JLOS services, by those who have used the services, has also increased from 59% to 72% on average. In comparison to other jurisdictions, according to the Global Competitiveness Report, Uganda has risen in the Index of Judicial Independence from 2.8 in 2014/15 to 3.41 in 2015/16. The Country’s overall ranking has also improved from position 128 out of 144 countries in 2014/15 to position 91 in 2015/16.
In practical terms, the Sector now has a functional presence in 82% of the districts, up from 75% last year and the number of districts with a complete chain of justice has now risen from 53% in 2014/15 to 59.8% in 2015/16, following the completion of construction of various facilities. The case clearance rate now stands at 125% and there has been a 20% reduction in pending cases. This has been attributed to the appointment of key personnel and the increased use of initiatives such as Plea Bargaining and the Small Claims Procedure as well as staff training and enhanced coordination and performance management across the Sector. Mediation has gained traction and we now report a 55% success rate, up from 26% in 2014/15.
As a result of the improved case disposal, we have also seen the average length of stay on remand reduce from 30 months in 2012 to 10.4 months currently and case backlog has reduced from 32% in 2014/15 to 25% in the year under review. Crime rates have also gone down as a result of the coordinated crime prevention strategies and improved investigations and prosecutions and the rate of recidivism is at 21%, one of the lowest in the World.
Addressing the bottlenecks hampering greater trust in JLOS
Our desire however is to see greater levels of confidence and satisfaction in the Sector. We are aware that case backlog remains a thorn in our flesh and relatedly the congestion levels in the Prisons are still excessively high. We also cannot shy away from the fact that corruption, whether real or perceived, continues to cloud the public perception of the Sector and ultimately reduces public confidence in the system.
This is where we intend to focus our attention now and in the year ahead. In the Judiciary, for example, we have already conducted a full census of cases in the system and are set to work on addressing the challenges that have slowed our Court processes. We are combining this with targeted policy and legal reforms to re-design the justice system so as to better meet the needs of Ugandans under the middle-income status the Country is aiming at.
The Sector has variously embraced technology and several institutions are working on transforming processes and service delivery mechanisms so as to bring them in line with the changing ways of doing business and to meet the global ICT demands. Automation of our processes and the creation of E-Registries across the Sector is a priority that we have to pursue and achieve.
These are not mere dreams but realistic tasks that we have set for ourselves and which we intend to achieve with the support of our partners and the general public. We have embarked on wide sensitization programs and information sharing and in this regard we are grateful to our partners in the media who have taken a keen interest and supported us in this endeavor. We urge you to continue promoting responsible reporting so as to enhance healthy dialogue in the promotion of justice, law and order in Uganda.
We thank our partners in civil society and the private sector who have worked with us, engaged us and challenged us to continue improving on the way we do business as a Sector.
We thank our development partners, whose support has contributed to our achievements this and the years before. We also thank our partners in the various Ministries, Agencies and Departments of Government in Uganda that have partnered with us and supported the Sector in different programs. We look forward to continued collaboration as we take the Sector into this final year of the 3rd Strategic Investment Plan.
Let me take this opportunity to welcome our newest member to the Justice Law and Order Sector, the National Identification and Registration Authority. The Authority has taken on the mandate of handling the registration of all persons in Uganda.
I also take this opportunity to welcome the Head of Delegation of the European Union as the Chairperson of the JLOS Development Partners Group and the entire Delegation as partners in the future growth and development of the Sector.
I once again welcome you all to this meeting and it is now my singular honour and pleasure to declare the 21st Annual Joint JLOS Government of Uganda – Development Partners Review open.
Thank you for listening to me.
Bart M. Katureebe
CHIEF JUSTICE AND CHAIRPERSON, JLOS LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE
My Lord, the Honourable Chief Justice,
My Lord, the Honourable Deputy Chief Justice,
Honourable Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,
Honourable Attorney General,
Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs,
Cabinet and State Ministers in your respective capacities,
Honourable Justices and Judges of the Courts of Judicature,
Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions,
Members of Parliament Present,
Chairpersons and Members of Constitutional Commissions,
Heads and Representatives of the Justice Sector Ministries, Departments and Agencies,
Representatives of Civil Society and Non-State Actors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To deliver these remarks on behalf of the Development Partners on this occasion of the 21st Annual Review of the Justice Law and Order Sector gives me great pleasure and honour.
This year's theme – "A Pro-People Justice System: Building Public Trust" could not have been more topical. We all know that a number of challenges continue to test public trust in the justice system.
The basic tenet of this public trust in the justice system rests on the confidence that the system is independent. That the letter of the law will apply to all people in equal measure irrespective of their income status, irrespective of their educational level, and irrespective of their public status or the office they hold.
The Annual Performance Report for the period under review highlights a number of different indicators reflecting improvements in judicial independence. This should be applauded because so delicate and so critical is the independence of the justice system that it must be defended by all who cherish the rule of law. It is for this reason that Development Partners welcomed assurances [from the Honourable Minister of Justice] that the sanctity of courts and the safety of judicial officers will be protected. We call on all people, including members of JLOS institutions, to submit to the due processes of the law. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate an observation pertaining to the policy framework for independence of the judiciary. We, as do members of JLOS we have interacted with, firmly believe that enactment of the Administration of Justice Bill would greatly strengthen judicial independence. Honourable Minister for Justice, we welcomed your intimation that the Administration of Justice Bill would be sent to Parliament before the end of October 2016.
As it is with other sectors of the country, various reports acknowledge that the sector faces serious challenges of corruption. If we did not highlight this challenge, we would not qualify as your true friends. While significant increases have been registered in public confidence in JLOS institutions from 26% (in 2012) to 48% (currently), in level of public satisfaction from 59% to 72% and in the disposal of cases and internal disciplinary mechanisms to fight corruption, corruption still remains a problem at all levels of the justice chain – at investigations, when applying for "free" police bond or court bail, at sanctioning of files, and with files disappearing or not being cause listed without inducements.
These are realities that an ordinary citizen faces. It is therefore unsurprising that the study on "Justice Needs in Uganda (2016)" found that many people, especially the poor, firmly believe that Ugandan Courts are biased against the poor and marginalised. This finding further reinforces our call for the adoption of the Legal Aid Policy and Law to ensure that adequate representation before the court will not depend on the defendant's financial situation. Furthermore, we would like to renew our call that the vice of corruption needs to be decisively tackled through a multi-pronged approach, including rigorous implementation of the sector's anti-corruption strategies, effective and timely sanctions, and recoveries of all proceeds of corruption.
The situation with case back log, pre-trial detention (55%) and prison congestion (occupancy at 293%) not only offends the cardinal principle that "justice delayed is justice denied", but also raises serious human rights concerns. It is common during adjournments to hear: "investigations are still ongoing" while the suspect is incarcerated on remand. Land disputes take on average 45 months to dispose, severely affecting livelihoods during this time and often resulting in violent land conflicts due to uncertainty and frustration with the delays.
In this context, the Development Partners would like to express strong our concerns on the continued use of High Court Criminal Sessions for handling criminal cases. The justification for the use of the session system is difficult to see or understand, especially in circuits with resident judges. It would be even more difficult, perhaps impossible for a suspect who has spent years on remand, in an overcrowded prison, to understand the criminal session system.
My Lords the Chief Justice and Principal Judge, in light of the challenges that the system presents, we would like to call on you to urgently review the use of High Court Criminal Sessions. Furthermore, we would like to make a call to stakeholders in the sector as a whole to examine the "investigations after arrest strategy" and discourage a retrogressive review of the 48 hours rule, which - like restricting the right to apply for bail - would only make a bad situation worse.
It is common knowledge that Uganda has a very young population, one of the youngest in the world. We would like to emphasise the prioritisation of the justice system in favour of children and recommend that cases of child victims or children in conflict with the law are handled with priority, considering both the specialised approach needed for children and to ensure their best interests are met. Diversion is certainly the most sustainable solution, not building more and more remand homes.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned challenges, Development Partners would like to greatly commend the sector for a number of initiatives such as the introduction of the small claims procedure and plea bargaining, as well as the roll out of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which have already registered tremendous success or are on the way to do so. We are confident that the National Court Case Census, a report of which was launched last Monday, provides a benchmark towards which targeted measures can be taken, which will address and eliminate the serious backlog of cases in the foreseeable future.
Despite the expiry of their tenure; despite the numerous criticisms levied against them; and despite the operational challenges they face, the Local Council (L.C) Courts 1 and 2 continue to operate. Research upon research has consistently pointed that not only are the L.C Courts one of the most valuable sources of information for Ugandan citizens; they are also the most frequently used mechanism for dispute resolution. As such, they also enjoy comparatively high levels of user satisfaction. It is for these reasons that we welcome the assurances from the relevant ministries that the elections of L.C Courts at levels I and II will be conducted any time soon. These elections will allow these critical entry points for justice service delivery to fully exercise their mandate.
Protection and promotion of human rights is a core mandate of JLOS institutions. Over the years, however, Development Partners have raised concerns that some institutions [e.g. Police and Prisons Services] mandated to promote and protect human rights are at times the very ones identified in various human rights reports, including those of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, as violating citizens’ rights. While the conduct of some law enforcement officers during and after elections raised serious concerns, this year we witnessed for the first time a decline in human rights cases reported against Uganda Police Force who had often topped the charts of human rights violations.
While the reduction in the numbers of complaints against JLOS institutions is worthy of recognition, we cannot lose sight of the fact that many compensation awards to victims of violations remain unsettled. The growing case backlog in the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), and the time it takes to dispose off human rights complaints (30 months on average), should urgently be addressed by the recently reconstituted Commission. Also, a deeper analysis for the reduction in the number of complaints may be of merit to make sure that growing awareness of available avenues for complaints is not overshadowed by growing frustration about lengthy procedures or other obstacles.
In the coming weeks, Uganda is scheduled to be reviewed by the Human Rights Council. The review will provide an excellent opportunity for the country and the sector to take stock of the extent of the success of its initiatives to promote and protect human rights, and of the status of implementation of voluntary commitments and other recommendations, such as those relating to the review of the death penalty.
Yet despite all the challenges, there has also been commendable progress on many issues: The success and achievements registered since the 1st Strategic Investment Plan (SIP I) are a testament to all those JLOS actors who work hard to overcome challenges and are committed to address those still remaining, We are confident that those challenges are not insurmountable.
Only a few years ago, the average length of stay on remand was 30 months. This is now down to 10.4 months, still relatively too long a time to spend on remand, but a remarkable step in the right direction. There are other examples of impressive lead times in the sector – 10 days on average to issue passports, 16 working hours to register a company and 03 minutes to clear at the border, to name but a few.
In terms of physical presence, we would like to salute the sector for now being present [though not fully functionally in some instances] in 82% of the country’s districts. Even better, the police have set this bar even higher –100% of sub-counties now have operational police posts - thereby contributing to a reduction in crime rate and to increased conviction rates despite worsening resource constraints for the investigations department.
I have already talked at length about the importance of respect for judicial decisions and submission to judicial authority as the hallmark of democracy and rule of law. The Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the last Presidential Election Petition. I am informed that this was the first time in Uganda's jurisprudence that the court made specific orders for electoral reforms.
We have received with great expectations the assurances that recommendations will be considered in a timely manner and through an inclusive process.
Electoral reforms - which also relate to some outputs of JLOS' own Strategic Investment Plan - are not an issue Development Partners unjustifiably push for. They are important for sustainable growth and stability of this country. It is important for the future of this beautiful country and its young citizens.
My Lord, the Chief Justice, Honourable Minister of Justice, my colleagues will discuss more during the presentation of Development Partners' technical assessment of the performance of the sector.
As I conclude, I would like to underline the importance of allocating adequate resources to the sector. The annual report notes that the investigations department of police faces severe budgetary constraints. The Judiciary and Uganda Human Rights Commission - as do other sector institutions - face similar challenges. We, the Development Partners, remain firm in our belief in the sector and in our unwavering commitment to stand with or walk by your side in your efforts to achieve a pro-people and trusted justice system.
Thank you for your attention!
The Honorable The Chief Justice,
The Honorable The Deputy Chief Justice,
The Honorable Attorney General of Uganda
The Deputy Attorney General of Uganda and Minister of State for Justice and Constitutional Affairs,
Minster of State for Internal Affairs
Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal
The Honorable The Principal Judge
My Lords, the Judges of the High Court
Honorable Members of Parliament,
All Heads of all Government Institutions
All Heads of JLOS institutions,
All Registrars and Magistrates here present
Representatives from civil society and the private sector,
Representatives from the media,
Fellow development partners,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure and honor for me to participate in this 20th Annual Review of the Justice Law and Order Sector and to deliver this statement on behalf of the development partners engaged in the sector.
I would like to start by congratulating the sector on the appointment of the new Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice ending a two-year vacuum at the helm of the Judiciary.
Congratulations Hon. Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and Hon. Justice Steven Kavuma on your appointment. Please be confident that you can count on our continuous support under your leadership.
I would also like to take this opportunity to pass on our condolences to the sector on the untimely death of General Aronda Nyakairima, the former Minister of Internal Affairs. We fondly remember General Aronda for his amiable character and willingness to always engage but above all for the wonderful work he did in getting the national identity card project off the ground.
He was the kind of person who embodied the meaning of the famous words of the late South African President Nelson Mandela: “Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.”
General Aronda understood the importance of not just imagining a better world, but achieving it through deliberate action. May his Soul rest in peace.
In the same vein, allow me to once again pass on our condolences to you on the loss of Joan Kagezi. We condemn the gruesome manner in which she was killed and hope that the perpetrators of this hideous crime are brought to justice and held to account. May her soul rest in eternal peace.
Honorable Chief Justice, your voice has been heard already not only here in Kampala, but throughout the country and the world.
Your messages are loud and clear:No to interference in the judiciary by the executive and No to corruption within the institutions of the Justice, Law and Order Sector. They resonate to all the corners of this beautiful land. We, the development partners, have heard your strong messages too and are fully supportive of this. You will all probably agree with me that it has been a very special year and the Annual Report documents that progress has indeed been made and confirms the various challenges that the sector had to deal with.
So, let me first and foremost congratulate the sector for the results achieved during the year under review, and for the continued good working relationships with us at the different levels.
The free, constructive and critical exchange of ideas between the JLOS Leadership and its development partners has proven valuable to strengthen our partnership.
I would like to express our hope that we can continue this constructive and critical dialogue even though the financial contribution from some development partners decreased significantly over the past year.
As my Swedish colleague pointed out last year in his speech during the 19th Annual Review, the functionality of the sector is of utmost importance to the delivery of justice for the population.
The sector is critical for strengthening the social contract between the State and its citizens. It is also the instrument for effectively addressing corruption and for enhancing transparency and accountability of the State.
As clearly described in the NDP, the sector is an instrument for realizing economic growth and social development.
The sector is crucial for safety and security for all citizens, for creating a favorable climate for domestic and foreign investments and trade, for inclusive and green economic growth, in short, for achieving the objectives of Vision 2040. In this regard, I would like to assure you of a stronger engagement by the development partners with the sector.
As some of you might know, I was working in Uganda when the JLOS arrangement was developed. I was around soon after JLOS was born, so to speak.
When I look back at JLOS 10 years ago and where JLOS is at this point of time, I think it is fair to say that JLOS has travelled a long and sometimes rocky road, but is still moving in the right direction. I had a chance to look at the annual report and I’m very pleased to confirm that the overall performance of the sector has again slightly improved as compared to last year.
On behalf of all development partners let me commend the JLOS Leadership, the JLOS Institutions and the JLOS Secretariat for all their hard work, their efforts and engagement that have made this difference possible.
Examples of improved performance include the new initiatives geared towards increasing access to justice to the poor like the scaling up of the small claims procedure to an extra 16 Courts, development of a suspects’ profiling information management system by the Uganda Police Force, introduction of plea bargaining and rolling out of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms.
Making a difference takes time, confidence, political will, strong leadership and personal commitment. The sector needs to intensify its search to find additional alternative means to address some of the bottlenecks that hinder access to justice for the poor and vulnerable groups. That is why for us the theme of this Review ‘A Pro-people Justice System- profiling Vulnerability” is very timely, appropriate and critical and we urge that it is mainstreamed across all the Sector activities.
The most vulnerable sections of the population continue to face the greatest obstacles when attempting to uphold and enforce their rights through justice mechanisms. It is therefore important to identify and address the precise barriers that impede fair and equitable access to justice to the poor especially women and children. Collective undertakings by all JLOS stakeholders should ensure accountability and protection of children and juveniles as well protection of poor women and men against Gender Based Violence.
Ultimately, access to justice can only be achieved when the most vulnerable groups of society are effectively protected and are able to easily seek redress from the institutions in the sector. As the annual report clearly shows, many deliberate and often successful actions were already undertaken last year by all of you.
However, I hope that you’ll agree with me that a lot more still needs to be done if the sector is to meet the fast growing demand for justice, law and order, security and safety.
This growing demand is not just the result of increased awareness of Ugandans about their civic and human rights.
The demand is also increasing simply because of rapid population growth: more people means that the sector needs to expand its capacity to deliver more and more services and – at the same time - invest to improve the quality of its services.
The next Sector Investment Plan will have to factor in the various demographic scenarios for the medium and long term planning for the further expansion and financing of the sector.
As for the short term, I would like to share with you some of our key concerns. We have only two years left before the Third Sector Investment Plan comes to an end.
So, this is a suitable time to review what the sector has achieved and more critically look at how the sector plans to deal with the outstanding challenges that have continued to hold back the sector’s performance.
In this regard, there are a few issues that we like the sector to address:
First, we are increasingly concerned that there is still lack of progress on some of the policies and proposed legislations for example the Judiciary Administration Bill, the Legal Aid Policy, the Transitional Justice Policy, the Witness Protection Amendment Bill and the Children’s Act Amendment, to mention but a few. We expressed the same concerns last year. Therefore, we urge you again to expedite the process of ensuring that these are enacted and operationalized.
Secondly, we know that internal and external accountability of the sector is critical in ensuring rule of law and respect for human rights, more so in light of the upcoming elections. However, we note that some of the institutions within the sector continue to rank as the most corrupt institutions in the public sector as well as leading in human rights violations. It is against this background that we urge the sector to scale up corrective sanctions and ensure that there is strong public confidence in the sector.
My Lord the Deputy Chief Justice
My Lord the Principal Judge
Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court
Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal
Your Excellency, the Ambassador of Ireland and Chairperson of JLOS Development Partners Group
Your Excellences, Heads of Diplomatic Missions to Uganda
The Secretary to 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
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my honour to welcome you all to this 20th Joint Annual JLOS Government of Uganda - Development Partners Review. The review is an opportunity to once again take time to reflect on what we have achieved in the past year, and those tasks still ahead of us. I thank our partners for their continued support, in terms of the resources provided but also with regard to the partnership, engagement and joint implementation of projects.
I wish note however, that this was a challenging year where the share of the JLOS budget as a proportion of the national budget dropped by 19% from 6.7% to 5.4% and worse still, the development budget dropped by 45% from 0.4% to 0.22% as a share of the national budget. This budget performance notwithstanding, the Sector was able to achieve commendable performance in the financial year.
I thank the JLOS institutions for their continued service and efforts towards the progress that we have been able to register thus far. I take this opportunity to acknowledge those who we have lost, who have contributed to the growth and the successes we have achieved this year.
I recognise the late General Aronda Nyakairima, Minister of Internal Affairs and member of the Leadership Committee for his exemplary leadership in the reforms in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, and for ably guiding the National Identity Card project and the creation of the National Identity and Registration Authority. I wish also to recognise the late Joan Namazzi Kagezi, Senior Principal State Attorney for her tireless efforts in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity and her commitment to justice for victims in situations of conflict. I also wish to recognise the late Paul Bogere, Commissioner for Local Council Courts in the Ministry of Local Government who was at the forefront of the project to strengthen and reform the operations of the Local Council Courts as bastions of justice at the grassroots. We salute them and all those who have departed in the year past.
I commend them and all the Sector institutions and staff for their efforts to address the needs of the most vulnerable members of our society, whether in the villages, in communities emerging from conflict or in the towns and cities where they remain vulnerable as a result of poverty or unemployment. As a Sector we acknowledge that vulnerability is a key obstacle to attaining justice for all and we endeavor to profile and target interventions that will alleviate the challenges that the poor and most vulnerable face in accessing justice.
During the financial year of 2012 - 2013, the Justice, Law and Order Sector continued to focus on three outcomes of strengthening 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. We now present a highlight of the sector's performance based on the three outcomes laid out in the Third Strategic Investment Plan (SIP III).
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.
The Justice, Law and Order Sector 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.
Building on the above successes, JLOS is now implementing the Third Sector Strategic Investment Plan (SIPIII). SIP III is based more on the need to achieve clear results and impact aimed at the promotion of the rule of law with a focus on increasing public confidence and trust in the justice system as well as user satisfaction in the services offered by the sector.
The JLOS Work Plan for the FY 2013 - 2014 will cost 57.021 billion shillings and will be supported by the Government of Uganda, the Kingdom of Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, United Nations agencies and other Development Partners.The Work plan is an integral part of the national budget and majorly takes care of the development and reform needs of JLOS institutions and the depth of its success relies strongly on the performance of the National Budget.
To achieve the expected impact, JLOS is now strengthening policy and legal frameworks for effectiveness and efficiency; enhancing public access to JLOS services and driving the country towards deeper observance of human rights while promoting institutional and individual accountability. In this financial years’ work plan the following were prioritized: Policy, Legislative and Regulatory Framework Strengthened; Public access to JLOS services particularly for vulnerable persons enhanced; Observance of Human Rights and Accountability promoted.
On October 4 2010, the newly redeveloped JLOS Website was launched by the Honorable Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda, His Lordship Justice B.J Odoki during the 15th Annual JLOS Joint GOU and Development Partners’ Review at Imperial Royale Kampala.
Get all the latest information updates in the sector via www.jlos.go.ug.
All documentation related to the recently concluded 15th Annual JLOS Review is now available on our portal for download. Just go to Publications and select “15th Annual JLOS Review” for all presentations, speeches and documented remarks.
You can also catch up with us on Face Book, Twitter and Blogger! Our accounts on the global networks are activated. Just so sign up! Check website for details.