Society

Great Lakes Region States Agree to Put up Special Courts for Sexual and Gender Based Violence

12 Great lakes region states of which Uganda belongs to have agreed to start processes of creating special courts and sessions for victims of sexual gender based violence as a way of eliminating possibilities of victims shying away from courts due to fear of stigma and trauma that is associated with such cases.

Judges, prosecutors, politicians, security officers and civil society members from the 12 members states of the international conference of the great lakes region (ICGLR) during a three days’ conference on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) that took place last week from 1st to 4th of December at the Commonwealth Resort Hotel Munyonyo noted that the lack of such courts continue to encourage impunity of the SGBVs’ perpetuators because collection of evidence to incriminate them is always hard.

Mike Chibita, the director of public prosecutions Uganda noted that the current status of courts in Uganda and all the other member states do not favour the victims hence these sexual Violence’s continue to go unpunished because of lack of evidence to convict the criminals.

“In cases of sexual assaults, DNA should link the perpetuator to the victim, however in Uganda and other countries, the forensic facilities are inadequate and these delays investigations,” Chibita noted.

He further noted that other processes that victims have to go through in reporting cases also make it impossible for them to pursue the cases.

“In most cases, medical officers charged a few before examining an SGBV victim which most victims cannot afford. Also doctors refuse to testify in courts if they are not paid. All these facts imply that these cases need special treatment and special courts and we all agree that these cases are not impossible to form, what we need is governments’ commitment,” Chibita said.

Nathan Byamukama, the assistant country director Regional Training Facility (RTF), said that it was created to train, educate and Equip doctors, police officers, judges and prisons officers on how to handle SGBV cases noted that as much as the facility is doing everything possible to great awareness about the challenges involved in handling such cases and find ways of solving such cases, the challenge of lack of special courts continue to put their efforts down.

“Over the three days throughout the discussions, the need for such courts became clearly and clearly. The lack of courts has continued to create impunity in such cases and this fight against Sexual Violence will never end if victims still feel insecure to report such cases,” Byamukama noted.

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Among other resolutions made during the conference include ensuring of political security for all the countries in the region because negative forces are the main hub for SGBV, soliciting for funds to continue facilitating RTF as well as finding sustainable sources of income for fulfilling the 10 protocols of the ICGLR and RTFa.

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