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The 4th Strategic Development Plan (SDP IV) therefore seeks to consolidate the gains that were realized over the 15 years since the inception of the Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) and further expresses Government’s commitment and determination to deal with the challenges not only as legal issues, but also to address them as economic, social and cultural issues that affect all other sectors of Ugandan society and every Ugandan.

SDP IV seeks to strengthen the mechanisms for delivering citizen-centered access to justice and provide a strategy to meet the justice needs that the citizens in Uganda face on a daily basis.

 

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The Justice Law and Order Sector presents its Annual Performance Report for the Financial Year 2016/17, the last Performance Report under the Third Sector Investment Plan (SIP III).

This year the report highlights efforts the Sector made towards profiling vulnerability and delivering on the promises under the SIPIII. As per the promise, there was strong commitment to strengthen the legal frameworks and improve service delivery processes protect the most vulnerable such as the children, improve access to services and enhance human rights observance and accountability.

 

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Friday, 08 December 2017 10:08

Welcome Remarks : 22nd Annual JLOS Review

 

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The Honourable Chief Justice of Uganda
The Honourable Deputy Chief Justice
The Honourable Principal Judge
Honourable Ministers
My Lords, Justices and Judges of the Courts of Judicature
Your Excellency, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Chairperson of the JLOS Development Partners’ Group
Your excellencies, 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 District Chain Linked Committees
Distinguished invited guests in your respective capacities
Ladies and Gentlemen

 

It is my honour and priviledge to welcome each and every one of you to this 22nd Annual JLOS Government of Uganda - Development Partners’ Review. We thank you for joining us today to share this important occasion in the JLOS calendar.

Sadly, we begin this review at a time when we are facing the passing of a great colleague and leader, he Honourable Lady Justice Laetitia Mukasa Kikonyogo, Deputy Chief Justice Emeritus. Lady Justice Kikonyogo will be remembered as a pioneer for women in the Judiciary, a brilliant lawyer and a dedicated Ugandan. We extend our condolences to the family of the late Justice Kikonyogo, the Chief Justice and the entire Judiciary. I request you all to rise and join me as we observe a moment of silence in her honour.

Today is a momentous day. Not only will we consider the performance of the Sector for the year 2016/17, but we will also consider the overall impact that the Sector has made over the five years of implementation of the third Sector Investment Plan (SIPIII). The day will culminate with the launch of our Fourth Sector Development Plan (SDP IV), the framework for Sector strategies and investments for the period 2017/18 to 2019/20.

We are holding this review under the theme “A Pro-people justice system: Profiling vulnerability, delivering on the Promise”. As you will see from the detailed presentation of the Report, we have over the five years of SIPIII focused on creating a more people centered justice system that addresses the challenges and responds to the needs of the most vulnerable people in our society. We have worked to reach more people with our services, creating friendly interfaces that have encouraged the public to seek justice services and provide us with feedback, where we have fallen short. We believe that we have achieved a lot of what we set out to do. With a wider infrastructure network, increased automation and improved delivery in terms of disposal of cases, improvements in the rehabilitation of offenders and improved customer service and response to clients across the institutions, among others.

We do note however that there are still challenges that are plaguing the Sector and the Fourth Strategic Development Plan (SDP IV) is our roadmap to address these issues. Challenges such as the perennial case backlog and the understaffing and welfare of Sector staff, continue to hold us back from attaining our highest potential. As the political leadership of the Sector it is our task, and a task we are committed to, to see that these challenges are addressed under the SDP IV.

I wish to welcome our partners from the rest of Government to this review. Although it is called a JLOS review, it reflects the work of the entire Government as far as the Rule of Law and justice are concerned as we are all inter-twined in this effort, whether it is in the shared delivery of services such as health, education and water or in the provision of financial and technical support. We look forward to renewed and strengthened inter-Sectoral partnerships going forward.

I wish to welcome and thank our Development Partners, with whom we have worked closely and tirelessly to achieve the successes we have registered so far. Your commitment to JLOS is appreciated and we are glad to note that this support and collaboration will continue into the SDP IV period.

To all our partners from civil society and the private sector, we look forward to your feedback and comments today, which we believe will make the Sector stronger and inform our future endeavors. We emphasise that we are working to ensure a pro-people justice system and as a cross-section of the public we welcome your input towards this journey that we are taking together.

Once again, I thank you all for gracing our invitation and I look forward to your active participation in this Annual Review.

I now take this opportunity to invite His Excellency, Ambassador Henk Jan Bakker of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Chairperson of the JLOS Development Partners’ Group to make his remarks.


FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.

Hon. Mwesigwa Rukutana
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL/MINISTER OF STATE FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

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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.

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The Justice, Law and Order Sector Leadership Committee during its meeting on August 29th 2017 chaired by the Chief Justice approved the new three year JLOS Strategic Development Plan (SDP IV). This development follows the expiry of the Third Strategic Development Plan (SIP III) that the sector has been implementing for the last five years (2012 – 2017).

SDP IV (2017 – 2020) lays out a cohesive three-year strategic direction for the Sector that spans the following outcome areas: access to JLOS services and enhancement of infrastructure; strengthening commercial justice and the environment for competitiveness; and promotion of human rights and the fight against corruption. The SDP IV is aligned to the National Development Plan and was approved by the National Planning Authority last month.

The new strategic plan is scheduled for official launch on October 12, 2017 during the 22nd Annual Joint Government of Uganda and Development Partners Review Conference to be held at Serena Kampala Hotel.

 

For more information on SDP IV, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

By Edgar Kuhimbisa / Published: September 04 2017

 

 

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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:

 

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Development Partners Assessment of the JLOS Annual Performance (2015/16)

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Annual JLOS Performance Report (2015/16)

ANNEXTURE: JLOS Annual Performance Report (2015/16)

 

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]

 

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Annual Review Document Centre (Speeches and Presentations)

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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

 

 

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Annual Review Document Centre (Speeches and Presentations)

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My Lord, the Deputy Chief Justice

My Lord, the Principal Judge

Honourable Ministers

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

Invited Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Introduction

 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.

 

Conclusion

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

 

 

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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!

 

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