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Delayed Judgements, Corruption Complaints Dominate National Open Court Day :: Uganda Radionetwork

Delayed Judgements, Corruption Complaints Dominate National Open Court Day

The Chief Justice revealed that they had received complaints which were not well founded and now, they have realized that one of the best solutions to offer is to do more community outreaches by going to the field and to talk to the people.
16 Apr 2024 17:04
Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo

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Corruption related complaints and delayed delivery of judgments especially in land cases featured most on the first ever National Court Open Day held on Monday in Kampala.

Most people who got opportunity to ask Judicial Officers demanded to know why their cases taking long to conclude as delivery of court decisions.

Others  raised issues of corruption and singled  out some Judicial Officers who allegedly obtained bribes to expeditiously handle yet the cases have taken more than ten years in the Justice system without being concluded despite the alleged bribe.

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According to the Principal Judge Dr Flavian Zeija who is the Chairperson Organizing Committee of the National Court Open Day, the Judiciary  intended  to promote sensitization highlighting the services they offer, emphasizing mechanisms being re-engineered to improve delivery and receiving feedback from the public for improvement.

As such, all the Courts of Judicature located in Kampala on Monday together with their respective Judicial officers show cased the various services they offer and took the public into the procedure of filing cases through their different Courts.

The exhibitors included the Appellate Courts (Supreme Court and Court of Appeal) , Constitutional Court, High Court together with it's eight Divisions such as Land, Civil, Commercial, Family, Anti Corruption, International Crimes Division as well as all Magistrates and Chief Magistrates Courts in Kampala.

All other actors in the chain of justice such as Uganda Prisons, Uganda Police, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Law Development Center, Uganda Law Society, Uganda Law Reform Commission and Judicial Service Commission  also show cased what they offer.

In his remarks, the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo indicated that many Court users don't know what they desire and as such, there is always a conflict with judicial officers.

He assured the public that once a case has been filed , for them as judicial officers  know what exactly the court user wants, but many times, they have been  misunderstood because  the court users don't understand the Judiciary's operations.

Owiny-Dollo emphasized that none of the top leadership of the Judiciary can interfere in the decision making process of another judicial officer to influence the ruling.

The Chief Justice revealed that they had received  complaints which were not well founded and now, they have realized that one of the best solutions to offer is to do more community outreaches by going to the field and do more press conferences on TVs, and on ground to talk to the people  to educate them on the functioning of the Judiciary,  and where to go when not satisfied and aggrieved by actions of a Judicial Officer.

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He also revealed that the Inspectorate of Courts will be expanded and taken to sub regions so people don't trek longer distances to Kampala to lodge complaints.

According to Owiny-Dollo, after the Inspectorate of Courts which deals with issues of quality assurance and compliance in the Judiciary is expanded , the Chief Magistrates will then  be given supervisory powers such that complaints are handled expeditiously.

On his part, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Norbert Mao expressed dissatisfaction with court bailiffs who carry out evictions at night and lawyers who charge exorbitant fees from the clients even before offering the services.

He tasked the Judicial Service Commission -JSC to protect the Judiciary militantly so that people with such a background do not join the institution.

The Director Legal Aid Service Providers Network -LASPNET Sylvia Namubiru appealed to the Judiciary to fast track improving jurisdiction of Magistrates Court to handle cases involving more than 50 million shillings , and also to fast track hearing of land cases. She stated that land matters are the biggest causes of murder, family and domestic cases.

She also demanded for the release of inmates who have clocked mandatory period on remand saying that most of them are youth, majority of whom are charged with petty crimes. Namubiru complained of delay to get feedback from the new system of filing cases online using the Electronic Court Case information Management System -ECCMIS.

The Uganda Law Society President Bernard Oundo appealed to the Judiciary to get lasting solutions for the recurrent challenges faced by the Judiciary such as case backlog, Corruption, and delayed Judgements.

In order to enhance judicial accountability,  Oundo said they should deal with case backlog first by a comprehensive case audit and understanding why for examplethe criminal report shows an increase in  mob justice cases and why few people go to courts of law to seek justice.

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