High Court Judge Duncan Gaswaga has called upon various players in the justice law and order sector (JLOS) to support the Informal Justice mechanisms as one of the means of speeding up the delivery of Justice.
While representing the Principal Judge at the National Symposium on Informal Justice Systems in Uganda held in Kampala, Gaswaga applauded World Voices Uganda for having introduced Bataka Courts which have helped in quicker dispute resolution especially in smaller cases at grass root level
“As one of the people who sit at the bench of the formal justice system, I can say with a lot of confidence that when I look at the way how Bataka courts operate I feel like joining them.”
Gaswaga said since the formal systems require lawyers and take time due to a number of challenges as parties await for court decision , it has discouraged many from seeking justice.
“I remember in 2009 Parliament recommended the number of judges to be increased to 80 but it’s unfortunate that up to now the number is still less than that. In some Magisterial areas you find one chief Magistrate handling three chief magisterial areas which has led to case backlog in most of the courts.”
Gaswaga asked all individuals in Bataka courts to harmonize their operations with other courts to avoid contradiction and any form of Human Rights abuse that may arise in the process
“We are all members of the same team aiming at scoring in the same goal, we have to compliment each other to ensure that we offer quicker means of dispensation of Justice.”
Gard Benda the country Director of World Voices Uganda pointed out that delays in the formal justice system have led to an increase in cases of mob justice, witch craft and murder as one of the means through which people think that they can solve their grievances.
He therefore called for implementation of informal Justice mechanism the peasants who can’t afford lawyers also to access timely justice with in their homes.
“Many people fear courts well as others are not conversant with the language used there, others have to cover longer distances in order to access courts of law.”
This year’s symposium was held under a theme “Promoting innovations to bridge the gap between the formal and informal justice systems: A call for action to rethink policy and community Justice practice to enhance access to justice for all” .