On Wednesday April 20, 2016, the Managing Director of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) Mr. Martin Ledolter toured sector investments in Isingiro district in the company of several ADC officials and JLOS Secretariat staff led by the Senior Technical Advisor.
During the visit, the team visited Isingiro Justice Centre where a meeting with court users, local leaders and members of the Isingiro DCC was held. The team was later given a tour of the picturesque justice centre (Court, Police, and DPP offices). We later visited Isingiro Government Prison where the team interacted with inmates on issues of access to justice and service delivery.
Mr. Ledolter pledged continued ADC support to sector initiatives and acknowledged the value of ensuring access to justice especially for the vulnerable and poor.
By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: April 21, 2016
KAMPALA - The Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) yesterday (April 25 2016) bade farewell to Ms Simone Ungersboeck who has been serving as the Advisor (Good Governance) at the Austrian Embassy (Austrian Development Cooperation). Ms Ungersboeck's 4-year term of service at ADC (Kampala) ended and will be returning to Vienna later this week.
During a luncheon held in her honor at Speke Hotel in Kampala, the Chief Guest – H.W Paul Gadenya the Chief Registrar (courts of judicature) and Alternate Chair of the JLOS Steering Committee applauded Ms Ungersboeck for her tireless work ethic and effort that were instrumental in successful sector projects and initiatives funded by Austria – such as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Management for Development Results (MfDR).
Present at the event from ADC was Mr. Günter Engelits (head of office) and Ms. Doris Gebru-Zeilermayr (the incoming Advisor – Good Governance).
We wish Ms Ungersboeck the very best in her new assignment.
Published: April 26, 2016 08.27 hrs
KAMPALA -- The Justice, Law and Order Sector has received a vehicle to support the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) project. The vehicle was procured with funds from the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) which is providing support to sector ADR initiatives. The motor vehicle was officially handed over to the Chairperson of the ADR Project Advisory Board, Justice David Wangutusi at the Commercial Court on December 14 2015. Present was the JLOS Senior Technical Advisor, Ms. Rachel Odoi-Musoke, Mr. Vincent Mugabo, the Chairperson ADR Project Implementation Unit (PIU), and Ms. Simone Ungersboeck from the Austrian Development Cooperation.
The JLOS Senior Technical Advisor appreciated the Austrian Development Cooperation for funding the ADRM Project and enabling the Sector through the availed Project funds to purchase the motor vehicle. She highlighted that the vehicle will facilitate implementation of the ADR activities that involve movement from one institution to another.
The Ms. Ungersboeck from the Austrian Development Cooperation thanked the JLOS Secretariat for purchasing the beautiful motor vehicle for the ADR Project. She underscored that the motor vehicle will facilitate ADR Project activities such as monitoring project implementation across the country among others.
The Chairperson of the ADR Project Advisory Board, Justice Wangutusi thanked the JLOS Secretariat and Austrian Development Cooperation for the motor vehicle and promised to work to the best of their abilities and make good use of the facility.
About the ADR Project
The project is aimed at rolling out existing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes implemented in the Commercial Division of the High Court across all JLOS institutions with dispute resolution mandates, and strengthening the implementation of existing ADR mechanisms. The project will also contribute to the implementation of the Third JLOS Strategic Investment Plan (SIP III) particularly with regard to increasing the use of ADR in dispute resolution.
By Grace Chelimo and Edgar Kuhimbisa | December 15, 2015
KAMPALA - The Austrian government through the Austria Development Agency (ADA) has agreed to support the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) for the next 2 financial years – 2015/16 and 2016/17 to a tune of four (4) million euros. The budget support fund – worth about Ushs 15.5 billion is contained in agreement signed on July 3 2015 between ADA (representing the Austrian Government) and the Government of the Republic of Uganda (represented by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development).
The funds are oriented toward support to the implementation of the JLOS Third Strategic Investment Plan (SIP III) launched in 2012 spanning five (5) financial years. The support received from Austria shall go toward implementation of SIP III priority areas of strengthening the legal and policy environment; enhancing access to services provided by institutions involved in the administration of justice and maintenance of law and order (investigation, prosecution, adjudication, correctional and general dispute resolution et cetera); the promotion of human rights observance; and support to JLOS institutions involved in the fight against corruption.
According to the agreement that was signed by Hon. Matia Kasaija, the minister of finance, planning and economic development on behalf of GoU while Mr. Martin Ledolter on behalf of ADA, 2m euros (about 7.7 bn) shall be disbursed in the current financial year (2015/16) and the remaining balance released in the FY 2016/17 upon satisfactory progress in meeting the agreed performance indicators.
Austria, a member of the JLOS Development Partners Group has been at the forefront of support to the Justice, Law and Order Sector for more than a decade through funding to various initiatives that have positively transformed the administration of justice and the rule of law in Uganda. Currently, Austria through ADA is supporting the implementation of the Alternative Disputes Resolution Project (ADR) in a grant worth 342,436 euros (about Shs 1.4 bn). Other specific initiatives in JLOS supported by Austria include the Management for Development Results (MfDR) – a capacity building project whose objective is to empower sector staff with management and service delivery skills.
By Edgar Kuhimbisa/ Published: July 8, 2015
On March 25 2015, Dr. Simone Knapp ended her tenure as head of Office at the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) here in Uganda. Before she left, Dr. Knapp gave www.jlos.go.ug an exclusive interview and spoke on a number of wide ranging issues in the sector and the role of ADC in the administration of justice and the rule of law in Uganda.
You have been at the helm of ADC support to the Justice, Law and Order Sector in the last four years. What key initiatives and programs has ADC supported in the Sector?
ADC’s support to JLOS started in 1997. Since 2002 Austria has supported JLOS through sector budget support. In addition to this - from what we hear - by JLOS very appreciated sector wide support, ADC has provided funding to JLOS for key initiatives: for example we supported several trainings for members of the JLOS Leadership Committee, Steering Committee and Technical Committee in Management for Development Results, Gender Responsive Budgeting and Leadership skills.
ADC also works closely with JLOS in rolling out mediation services to all courts and other dispute resolution bodies like the Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Law Council and it is key that also the Uganda Law Society and its members, the lawyers, are involved. Currently, and this is news now, we are working on a new project which will be ready later in the year, namely the development of a publication of JLOS success stories and achievements in order to better communicate and showcase the work of JLOS!
Let us talk about the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) project (supported by ADC) whose roll out was officially launched on March 18, 2015. How do you think this project will benefit the ordinary Ugandans?
Case-backlog is a big issue in Uganda. We hear about it constantly – legal proceedings take years! That is why the need for alternative ways of handling disputes became very obvious. This is for example called mediation. Mediation means for example: a client now does not need to go to through a lengthy and very expensive court procedure to get the father of her children pay for school fees. She can ask trained mediators to intervene. The mediator will talk to and hear both parties and assist them in finding a solution to their problem. This means, that the solutions are owned by both parties, and they are taken speedily. With this, the courts will be able to focus on fewer and really difficult cases.
The ADC Uganda Country Strategy (2010 – 2015) ends this year. What have been the key achievements registered under support to the sector during this term? Going forward, what programs in JLOS will ADC be supporting in the next 5 years.
Yes, the ADC Country Strategy for Uganda is coming to an end this year, because it was aligned to the National Development Plan I. We undertook a review of our past work, and together with the upcoming National Development Plan II we will define our new ADC Country Strategy (2016-2020). It is a bit early now to talk about details of our future program but from my experience in the last years I believe that a mix of sector budget support and additional project support is very useful. This complementary mix of instruments was also confirmed by the recent review.
How critical is the engagement of Development Partners and Non-state Actors in ensuring that the Justice, Law and Order sector continues to play its part in sustainably promoting pro-poor growth in Uganda?
This is indeed a very critical engagement. Civil Society in Uganda plays a vital role in monitoring Government’s performance, holding Government accountable and very often even in service delivery. For example, within the Justice, Law and Order sector, there are a number of Legal Aid Service Providers who provide legal aid and counseling services to people. I would not want to imagine a Uganda without the essential contribution by these Legal Aid Service Providers. Many of these organisations like FIDA, Paralegal Advisory Services, Muslim Centre for Justice and Law, Uganda Land Alliance, and others are supported by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) which is supported by Austria and seven other Development Partners.
What strategies can the sector employ in order to deepen justice reforms that are pro-people?
A number of such strategies are already ongoing like the attempt to improve service delivery and customer service as well as to introduce performance management in the sector. However, these strategies need to be strengthened and broadened so that the Ugandan women or men, particularly the poor and vulnerable, really feel a difference when accessing any of the services of the sector. It is key that the entrance point for clients of the justice system is a friendly and positive one and that these people are attended to when they have questions and need support, especially as clients are often intimidated when entering a court and when getting in contact with the quite formal systems in courts.
As your tenure comes to close as head of ADC in Uganda, what is your general assessment of sector performance over the last four years?
I like to see the glass half-full. While we are all aware that important challenges remain, important progress has been made in the past. Together with other Development Partners we undertake detailed assessments of the sector’s performance twice a year. We appreciate that human rights desks and committees have been established in the Police and Prisons and hope to see their number – and influence - grow. The physical presence of JLOS services in the districts has also increased, which makes accessing justice for people much easier, as they no longer have to travel so far in order to go to Police for example. What we also see is that the legal framework in Uganda is well developed and positive is that the development of policies and laws is often done in a very consultative process. I am also impressed that JLOS within a short period of time introduced several innovative ways of reducing case backlog like mediation, plea bargaining or the small claims procedures. Let’s hope the Ugandan women and men will soon benefit from these innovations.
What would you describe as the major challenges facing the sector today and how can these be overcome?
It is not a secret that corruption is a huge problem in Uganda and very rampant, especially amongst lower rank Police and Judicial Officers. This needs to end and the fight against corruption needs the clear commitment of the JLOS Leadership. I would hope the Government would one day take it up to reform the public service thoroughly.
Equally well know is the problem of human rights violations within the sector. These range from violations of the 48h rule by Police, to torture and mishandling. More training on human rights needs to be done, and individuals need to be held accountable, if they mistreat. By the way, what I was really hoping to see before my departure was the Legal Aid Policy and the Transitional Justice Policy adopted by Cabinet
In your opinion, what stands out as the key legacy of the sector-wide approach in the 16 years of JLOS’ existence?
JLOS is a best practice example indeed. Other countries look at Uganda and ask how you managed to do this. To me, the key legacy is the existence of JLOS houses, starting to be all over the country. Through this, all institutions come under one roof, and improve their cooperation, not only on paper and in meetings and discussions, but in real life issues and cases, when people come to approach them. This is what JLOS is about – bringing justice closer to the people!
Before leaving, let me thank all the good-hearted people in the sector for their very hard work, it was really a pleasure to work with you all and I wish JLOS all the best for the future!
By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: April 20, 2015
KAMPALA – After four years of service, Dr. Simone Knapp has officially ended her duties as head of office at the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) in Uganda. During her tenure, Dr. Knapp was at the forefront of ADC’s support to the Justice, Law and Order Sector overseeing programs in access to justice and the rule of law such as support to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Project and Management for Development results (MfDR), legal aid service provision and human rights.
In a letter issued to all partners on February 25 2015, Dr. Simone Knapp thanked all ADC partners for the mutual support accorded her during the four years in Uganda. “Having seen the excellent work you are doing, sharing the vision to achieve improvements for the lives of the people of Uganda, I would like to thank you for the good working relationships we have shared both professionally as well as personally”, the statement partly read.
The Justice, Law and Order Sector wishes Dr. Knapp good health and success in her new assignments.
By Edgar Kuhimbisa / Published: March 27, 2015
KAMPALA -- The Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) today launched the rollout of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from the Commercial Court of the High Court to other courts and dispute resolution bodies within the JLOS sector. ADR is a mediation process that allows parties to a dispute find a quick solution with the assistance of a neutral third party, without going through the costly and lengthy court process.
Originally piloted in the Commercial Court, ADR is now being rolled out to the other High Court Divisions of Civil, Family, Land and Magistrate Courts. ADR services will also be available in the other JLOS dispute resolution bodies like the Industrial Court, Judicial Service Commission, Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Law Council, the Directorate of Civil Litigation, Uganda Law Society and the Office of the Administrator General.
The Project is expected to contribute to the implementation of the JLOS 3rd Strategic Investment Plan (SIPIII), particularly with regard to increasing the use of ADR in dispute resolution.
The Project will also focus on training a pool of professional mediators across the country, strengthening of court registries for mediation in the Judiciary, conducting sensitization and community outreach programmes. The plan further includes the establishment of a fully-fledged High Court Division for Mediation in the Judiciary and harmonizing structures across JLOS institutions.
Supported by the Austrian Development Agency, the ADR Project provides the JLOS Sector with an opportunity to implement the Judicature (Mediation) Rules of 2013, which makes mediation mandatory in all civil matters including land, family and main civil law.
“Through mediation, the Project provides access to justice for vulnerable and marginalised people whose cases take long to be concluded in the formal justice system,” said Justice David Wangutusi, the chairperson, ADR Project Advisory Board. “Investors and local businessmen would like to do business in a country where disputes would be easily resolved. Much of the money used by these businesses is borrowed from banks at high interest rates. Such money tied up in disputes that stretch over a long time only leads to multiplication of bank interest, and therefore cost of operation, which directly impacts on the profits which the businessman makes, at times leading to collapse of big business ventures.”
The judge says ADR principles shall apply equally to claims in family, civil and land matters. “It is therefore with mediation that the ever-growing backlog can be checked and access to justice enhanced,” added Justice Wangutusi.
In the early 2000, mediation was piloted in the Commercial Court as an alternative to litigation, and many cases were successfully mediated. Judicial officers were left with time to try cases which are ordinarily not amenable to mediation – substantially increasing the productivity of the courts, satisfaction, and confidence of court users in the justice system.
Mediation and arbitration have been on the increase since the creation of the Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (CADER) in 2000. Between 2003 and 2005 the Commercial Court Division implemented the mediation Pilot Project whereby cases were referred to CADER for mediation.
Mediation became a permanent feature at the Commercial Court with the passing of the Judicature (Mediation) Rules 2013. Following the success story at the Commercial Court, it was decided to rollout mediation at all the courts with the gazetting of the Mediation Rules 2013. It is therefore important that mediation should be embraced by all to win the war on backlog and increase access to justice.
Published: March 18 2015
Officials from the Austria Development Cooperation (ADC) on Thursday visited various JLOS institutions in Lira District as part of a fact finding mission to assess progress in several Austria-funded programs in the Justice, Law and Order Sector. The visiting team comprised of Mr Peter Launsky (Director General for Development Cooperation in the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs); Mr Martin Ledolter - Managing Director / ADA); Ms Simone Knapp (Head of Office / ADA Uganda); Ms Mona Ungersboeck (Programme Officer Governance / ADA Uganda) and Ms Gerda Ludvik - spouse to the Director General for Development Cooperation.
The Austrian delegation were taken on a guided tour of Lira Prison by the Officer-in-Charge, Ms Maureen Ninsiima in the company of various officials from sector institutions that included Mr. Sam Wairagala (Ag. Deputy Senior Technical Advisor, JLOS Secretariat); Mr. Frank Baine (Public Relations Officer, Uganda Prisons); officials from the Paralegal Advisory Services, staff from the office of the Resident State Attorney, Justice Centres Uganda and the Courts of Judicature.
During the Prison tour, the Austrian delegation interacted with the prisoners as well as prison officials on issues of human rights, welfare and trials in the courts. In his address to the prisoners, Mr. Ledolter commended the work being done by the paralegal advisory services in the administration of justice especially in prison installations. He said expressed Austria’s commitment improving the living conditions of prisoners citing the Austrian-funded initiatives in the water and sanitation development sector that largely focus on hygiene and clean water supply. Mr Peter Launsky said that Austria in partnership with the Justice, Law and Order Sector was committed to ensuring justice for all those incarcerated in prisons.
Later on in the day, a meeting between the visiting Austria delegation and officials from JLOS institutions was held at the Lira High Court chaired by the Resident Judge, Justice Dr. Winfred Nabisinde. During the interactive meeting, issues of service delivery were discussed and solutions proposed to the identified impediments, challenges and gaps.
Asked about his assessment of the sector in an interview with JLOS.GO.UG, Mr. Martin Ledolter commended the “tremendous progress” achieved by JLOS citing achievements in access to justice and human rights such as improvement in living conditions of prisoners, access to legal services through Justice Centres Uganda and the Paralegal advisory services. He however said that a lot still has to be done especially in regard to issues of case backlog in the courts which have led to an increase in prisoners on remand.
Mr. Launsky also disclosed in an interview that Austria is in the process of developing another five-year country strategy for Uganda (2015 – 2020). The current Austria Country Strategy ends in 2015. He said that Austria is committed to continued support to the Justice, Law and Order Sector given the progress made in various intervention areas over the last five years.
Austria Development Cooperation
The Austria Development Cooperation has been at the forefront of sector reforms through financial support to the JLOS work plan for the last 13 years. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is the operational unit of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). It is in charge of implementing all bilateral programs and projects in ADC's partner countries and administers the budget earmarked for this.
By Edgar Kuhimbisa in Lira district | Published: November 28 2014