hospital http://chuckatuckhistory.com/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/simplehtmldom/package.module.simple_html_dom.php geneva;”>The UN refugee agency(UNHCR) and the Government of Uganda launched the project to access justice and legal assistance for victims of crime in Nakivale, symptoms the country’s oldest and largest refugee settlement.
UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday evening: “Our hope is that the mobile courts will speed the rate at which cases are heard, and serve to deter crime by bringing lawyers and a magistrate directly to both refugees and Ugandans in the settlement.”
The project launched on April 16, aims to benefit some 68,000 refugees and 35,000 Ugandan nationals in Nakivale by providing them quicker access to justice and legal assistance. Nakivale is located at about 50 kilometers from the nearest law court in Kabingo, Isingiro.
It’s first session was overseen by a Chief Magistrate who heard cases including robbery, land disputes, defilement, attempted murder and cases of sexual and gender-based violence. Subsequent sessions will cover crimes from petty theft to murder, Mr. Edwards said.
Mr. Edwards said the courts will hold three sessions a year, each lasting between 15 and 30 days and hearing up to 30 cases per session. Half the cases heard will be those of nationals, who live within the settlement.
“We already run similar mobile court initiatives in refugee camps in Kakuma and Dadaab in Kenya, where they have significantly reduced crime within the camps and surrounding areas,” Mr. Edwards said.
Uganda is home to 234,150 refugees and is one of very few counties where refugees live in settlements rather than camps. This in itself has often times raised many logistical problems with access to services as refugees are often spread out over large distances.
Mr. Edwards further noted that The Nakivale pilot project is collaboration with UNHCR, the Refugee Law Project, the Uganda Human Rights Council and Ugandan government.
He also called upon Lawyers to volunteer their time and services so that the entire process can be provided free of charge to both refugees and nationals.