Gov’t Must Take Prosecutors’ Protection Seriously – Chief Justice Katureebe

Legal practitioners want government to increase its funding to the justice system and step up the protection of prosecutors who face numerous threats in their line of work. They say that prosecutors play a big role in promoting justice but continue to be vulnerable to organized crime and assassinations.

The call was made at the Inaugural Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture held at Imperial Royale Hotel to pay tribute to the  Ugandan prosecutor who died in 2015. Kagezi, decease the former Head of International Crimes Division was shot dead by gunmen suspected to be linked to a case (2010 bombings in Kampala) she was prosecuting.

The lecture, healing attended by among others late Kagezi’s family was themed; ‘Fighting terrorism and organized crime’

South Africa’s National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams who delivered a key note said that prosecutors are equally citizens who interact with society and require all the necessary support to overcome the risks they encounter.

“Prosecutors don’t work to earn huge sums of money. They work to offer a service to their country which is equal justice. In order to successfully do their work, they (and their families) should be guaranteed physical protection at work, home and when they travel,” said Abrahams.

South Africa's National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams delivers a presentation at the first Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture on Thursday
South Africa’s National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams delivers a presentation at the first Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture on Thursday

He observed that the state must in equal measure invest in witness protection so as to strengthen the state’s case as well as protect evidence. The absence of this, he said leads to obstruction of justice, dismissals, acquittals and bribery of witnesses.

In a similar way, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda, His Lordship Bart Katureebe asked government to invest in modern technology as well as trained resources since terrorism is increasingly becoming sophisticated.

“Criminals who mastermind these acts of terror are way ahead of us in resources and technology. In Uganda, we even lack fingerprint and arms experts while investigating,” Katureebe lamented.


On individual protection, the Chief Justice expressed concern over the reluctance by the state to appreciate the security risk prosecutors in Uganda face. He said; “We need security more than ever. Our protection should be guaranteed since it is obvious that our work exposes us to threats.”

Participants suggested that an annual Fund and Award be established in dedication to Late Joan Kagezi. Many praised her for her dedication, courage, integrity and remarkable contribution in the fight against terrorism both domestically and internationally.

Notable figures that attended the lecture included; Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Richard Muhumuza, Angola’s Deputy Attorney General Gen. Helder Fernando Pita Groz, Swedish Ambassador to Uganda H.E Urban Anderson and South Africa’s High Commissioner to Uganda H.E Gen. Solly Molo.

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