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Minor offenders to stand trial in remand homes

FILE PHOTO: Juveniles in prison

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Minor offenders in remand homes will no longer travel to court for trial.

The Justice Law and Order Sector-JLOS has decided to conduct court sessions at remand homes to avoid exposing the minor offenders to COVID-19 infection while seeking justice.

Jane Stella Ogwang, the Principle Probation and Social Welfare Officer in the Gender, Labor and Social Development Ministry disclosed this while opening the first court session at Naguru remand home.

She explained that court officials in charge of respective cases shall handle them at the seven remand homes across the country.

She says there was need to ensure that justice prevails even amidst the lockdown while protecting the inmates.

Mary Kyomugisha Onoria, the Probation and Welfare Officer at Naguru remand home says the new initiative will help them to deal with more cases while protecting the children who would otherwise be exposed to diseases in the process of seeking justice.

High Court Judge Wilson Kwesiga conducted the first session at Naguru with 20 child suspects lined up on the cause list. Kwesiga said sessions are interactive and focused towards reforming the children.

There are currently 138 inmates at Naguru remand home, 92 on face capital offenses.

Aggravated defilement, robbery and theft top the list. While some of these cases are a result of poor parenting as observed by a social worker at Naguru, Justice Kwesiga points to other cases of transferred malice where guardians and other adults used children to fight own battles.

He asked government to further develop rehabilitation centers where these children can be taken to acquire better life skills.

At Naguru, judicial officers also met local leaders to sensitize them on how to handle conflicts involving children.

They were encouraged to use their local council offices to resolve some of the matters arising in the community rather than taking them to police and courts of law.

Ssalongo Godfrey Batukyaye, the Kireka D village secretary who had come at the center says LCs need to be sensitized further on their roles in resolving conflict in society.



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