Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) has posted major gains in the administration of justice, law enforcement and promotion of human rights over the last one year.
The sector registered milestones in reduction of case backlogs before courts, registration and management of new cases, rehabilitation and reintegration of child offenders and enhancing capacity of the public to better access services.
Other gains were posted in areas of public trust on the works of the Judiciary, the Uganda Police Force, the Uganda Prisons and the Legal Aid fraternity as well as the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) among others.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe says the public trust on the works of the sector now stands at 59 percent according to the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) State of the Access to Justice Report for 2017.
“The index of Judicial Independence remains high at 3.42 in 2018 from 3.41 in 2017 on a scale of 1 – 6 according to The Global Competitiveness Report 2018” he stated adding that the higher the Judicial index the higher the level of Judicial Independence.
Speaking at the 24th Annual JLOS sector review meeting at Mestil Hotel and Residences in Kampala on Tuesday, the Chief Justice said reduction of case backlogs before court maintained the 3 percent improvement it posted last year from 21 Percent to 18 percent in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The heavily statistical 2019 Sector Performance Report launched during the meeting indicates that without the Case Backlog Reduction Strategy being implemented by the Sector, backlogs would be 46.2 percent.
It shows that 68 percent of the country is now covered by JLOS services manifesting as Police presence, Courts, Legal Aids as well as Uganda Prisons Services and Directorate of Public Prosecution.
Dr Yorokamu Bamwine, Uganda’s Principal Judge says JLOS approach to deliver timely justice is revolutionary compared to many years ago when suspects spent more than 10 years on remand.
He said if maintained alongside promotion of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as the traditional justice system, the Judiciary will serve justice to people at Police station levels in the future.
Rachael Odoi Musoke, the Senior Technical Advisor of the JLOS Sector told the meeting that investment in case management resulted into a rise in the number of cases disposed over the year to 173,200, up from 164,530 in 2017.
Francis Atooke, the Solicitor General who is chairperson of the JLOS Sector said for the first time in history, the sector managed to post a significant reduction in the percentage of detainees on remand from 51.4 to 47.7.
“This means there are more jailed inmates than those waiting for trial in the various facilities, a huge achievement which we celebrate today” he stated to the applause of participants.
Uganda has more than 60,000 inmates with 18 percent case backlogs in the judicial system.
The sector has now embarked on automation of the Case Management system across its major strands the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, the Directorate Of Citizenship and Immigration Control, the National Identification and Registration Authority, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary.
In Kampala, 11 divisions out of 18 are now covered by the Circuit of the Closed Circuit Camera Television (CCTV) making it easy for Police to combat Crimea in the city.
Sam Wairagala, the deputy technical advisor of the Sector says crime rates reduced from 612.0 to 579.2 for every 100,000 people due to increased geographical spread, adoption of crime prevention measures such as Community Policing among others.
He said the sector has set up human rights desks in most local governments units in Uganda to create awareness and conduct observation of Human Rights.
The Head of European Union Ambassadors to Uganda His Excellency Atilio Pacifici said the impressive gains are watered down by repeated incidents of security brutality against Opposition politicians and journalists.
He urged government to implement recommendations of the Supreme Court and European Union electoral observer missions to Uganda ahead of the 2021 elections.