Why Ugandan Courts Could Soon Lose Meaning

Former Lords Resistance Movement commander Dominic Ongwen is finally headed to The Hague where he is expected to several charges before the International Criminal Court.

Ongwen, advice 34, was a leader in Joseph Kony commanded (LRA) rebel group that has terrorized east and central Africa for decades. He faces an array of serious charges for crimes against humanity.

He was captured last week by US troops who are supporting African Union (AU) forces in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda tells ChimpReports that the rebel commander Ongwen was yesterday January 16, handed over by UPDF to the African Union Regional Task Force in CAR, that later handed him over to CAR Government.

According to Ankunda, Col Michael Kabango of UPDF handed over Ongwen to AU RTF representative Col Mayen Garang (of SPLA), now the Acting Force Commander of RTF, who subsequently handed him over to the representative of the CAR Mr Glaisian B Kalengo.

“Ongwen was flown to Bangui for further management as he is destined to Hague. The American Charge de Affair in CAR H.E David Brown witnessed the handover,” revealed the army mouthpiece.

On arrest, Ongwen was not flown back Uganda where he was expected to among others undergo ritual cleansing as has been the case with several other captured revel leaders.

This according government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo was to avoid jeopardizing his trial at the ICC in The Hague.


Opondo reportedly said that although charges against him had to be filed in Uganda, there were fears his native country would pardon him and not hand him on to the ICC.


As the saying goes ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’, unhealthy some Ugandans have little by little lost interest in court, information pills due to the delayed proceedings that ware them out and some have resorted to taking the law in their hands.


This is due to many reasons among which is lack of enough funding from government to the judiciary is a major cause.

The national budgetary allocation to the judiciary as the 3rd arm of government still stands unsatisfying –as compared to the other two arms–standing at only 0.6 percent.

While the Executive and Parliament got 95% and 4.4% share of the National Budget in the Financial Year 2013/2014 respectively, the Judiciary got a miserable 0.6% share to cater for all its financial needs in terms of salaries and wages, capital development and re-current expenditure.

The Acting Chief Justice, Steven Kavuma notes that though there has been recently an improvement in funding the Judiciary, the current National resource allocation to it is still far from being satisfactory.

Kavuma says important aspect of urgent needs like court sessions; sufficient funding of land justice; and for payment of rent; and utilities, building of new courts and investing in technology and anti-corruption efforts could not be adequately funded because of the limited resources.

“If we want the Judiciary to perform and deliver, Uganda needs to invest in the Judiciary by giving the institution the tools to do its work,” Kavuma believes.

The Ag Chief Justice believes that the above pathetic position in the share of the National Budget by the Judiciary must be drastically altered.

“For a start we would propose at least a modest share of 2% of the national budget in the next financial year.”

He adds that those who think that empowering and facilitating the Judiciary of this country is unjustifiably too expensive and unnecessary should carefully consider the cost implications, both in human, financial and physical property terms the injustice, the chaos and the instability that would engulf the country as a result of a brake down of the Rule of Law and a crippled Judiciary.

The president, National Association of Women Judges in Uganda (NAWJU), Justice Dr. Eather Kisaakye Kitimbo, notes that there is a need for the enhancement of the terms of conditions of Judicial Officers.

“Members of the lower bench deserve quick attention to lift them from the current unsatisfactory financial state which will negatively impact on their service delivery.”



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