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KAMPALA. For lack of a proper legal framework to protect witnesses/victims of crime, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), has launched guidelines for prosecutors to use as a temporary measure if they are to effectively combat crime in the country. The guidelines are meant to assist prosecutors to determine the witness protection perimeters and the scope of protection in absence of the legislation. 

“At the moment, as most of us know, there is no legislation in Uganda to provide for protection of witnesses. Indeed it’s a bit awkward that we are launching manuals for victims’ rights and witness protection in absence of an enabling law,” said DPP Mike Chibita during the launch last Friday. He continued: “The alternative should have been us to sit and fold our hands and wait but we had to do what we could with the resources that we have. So even if the enabling legislation is not there, we still with the help of our friends, came up with these guidelines.” 

Justice Chibita lamented of how it has been hard to prosecute criminal cases in absence of an enabling law that protects witnesses. 

He gave an example of how they had to hire a car to be on standby and wait for a witness at the gate to whisk him/her away to the airport and take refuge in another country for fear of being harmed after testifying in a terrorism case he declined to name.

 

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Published: June 11, 2019

Published in Latest News
Monday, 22 September 2014 10:42

Witness Protection Benchmarking in Kenya

 

The Uganda Law Reform Commission with support from the Justice, Law and Order Sector is developing a Witness Protection Bill to support the protection of witnesses in process of administration of justice. In that regard, a comparative benchmarking tour to Kenya was conceived and undertaken in August 2014 by a team of policy and technical persons from JLOS institutions led by the State Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Frederick Ruhindi. Other members of the tram included: Lucas Omara Abong, Secretary, ULRC; Patrick Mabiiho Nyakaana, Commissioner, Law Reform; Musa Modoi, Technical Advisor on Human Rights and Accountability, JLOS; Jeroline Akubu, PLO, ULRC; and Denis Kibirige, Senior State Attorney, MoJCA. The purpose of the benchmarking tour was to enable the team members to appreciate the practical application of witness protection laws, to reinforce the study undertaken by the Commission in Uganda; and enable the team members to borrow practices from Kenya, and refer to these to further justify the proposals in our study report and draft bill.

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GULU - The Justice, Law and Order Sector in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on August 1-3, 2011 held a judicial colloquium on witness and Victim protection in Gulu. The colloquium was officially opened by the Deputy Chief Justice Mpagi Bahigeine. The LCV Chairperson of Gulu closed the event.

The colloquium was attended by sector institutions, civil society organizations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and was facilitated by among others Justice Julia Sebutinde of the Special Court of Sierra Leon, Justice Moloto of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), Mr. Karegyeza, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and Mr. Richard Buteera- the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The colloquium underscored the need to protect witnesses and victims in all crimes especially war crimes and crimes against humanity cases; the need to have immediate protection guidelines for witness and victims and the long term need to have a law on victim and witness protection.

 

By Edgar Kuhimbisa

Published in Archived News