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Judiciary Installs Video Conferencing System in Gulu High Court :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Judiciary Installs Video Conferencing System in Gulu High Court

Justice Owiny-Dollo notes that the advent of ICT is fundamentally changing the way people work, learn, and interact and notes that as Judiciary they can’t afford to remain behind where they had been in the past two decades.
Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo launches the video confrencing system at the Gulu High Court on Monday.

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The Judiciary has installed a video conferencing system to ease the hearing and trial of cases of inmates from Gulu Main Prison and the Gulu High Court.

The virtual court system was commissioned by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo on Monday at the Gulu High Court Circuit in Gulu City. 

The system installed both at the Gulu High Court and Gulu main prison comprises high-definition (HD) cameras, Virtual servers, a visualizer, and two flat screens that relay quality sounds and videos.

Speaking at the launch, Justice Owiny-Dollo said the use of video conferencing will facilitate the court process and reduce delays and case backlogs, thus affording true access to justice to everyone.

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Justice Owiny-Dollo notes that the advent of ICT is fundamentally changing the way people work, learn, and interact and notes that as Judiciary they can’t afford to remain behind where they had been in the past two decades.

He lauded the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the support offered to the Judiciary over the years and called for a continued partnership in the areas of ICT.

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According to Owiny-Dollo, the judiciary has over the years been able to adopt five responses in areas of ICT that include the case management system, an electronic court case management information system, an Audiovisual link system, digital court recording, and a transcription system.

Justice Philip Odoki, the Gulu High Court Resident Judge notes that the Video conferencing system will not only save resources and time but also ensure the protection of inmates involved in sensitive cases.

He however prayed that the virtual court equipment should also be extended to the magistrate’s court to help reduce case backlogs.

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For instance, by the end of the financial year 2022/23, Gulu High Court alone had a caseload of 3,052 cases out of which 1,131 constitutes case backlogs that hadn’t been heard in the last two years while the magistrate’s court had a caseload of 2,808 cases with 279 being case backlogs.

Milton Tyio, the Director of Correctional Services at Uganda Prison Services says the introduction of the virtual court system coupled with the expansion of court premises across the country has helped in expediting convictions and reducing the number of inmates on remand.

Tyio says with currently 75,000 inmates in the cells across the country, they are having a high occupancy rate of 385 percent, way beyond the estimated 20,000 inmates who should be occupying the jails.

The Judiciary currently has 17 operational sets of video conferencing systems, out of which a total of five (30 percent) have been installed in the high courts of Mbale, Jinja, Mubende, and Masaka.

By the end of June this year, the Judiciary had a total of 156,349 pending cases out of which 42,960 were backlogs and haven’t been disposed of for a period of two years. Justice Owinydollo has however been rooting for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to help reduce the case backlog.

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