Issue 3- CEPIL News Letter

CEPIL NEWS LETTER

Issue 3

Foreword

The first duty of any society is Justice. This duty cannot be delegated, we each must rise up and make our contribution towards achieving Justice for all.

As we end the first quarter we are pleased to inform you of our contribution towards achieving justice for all. In January as part of our project tenets, we engaged in a dialogue to gauge the transformative nature of a judgment delivered by the Judiciary. We hosted a dialogue based on the judgment in the case of David Chandi Jamwa V Uganda discussing, whether the Law is in sync with proper economic management trends? This advocacy initiative was aimed at sparking a discussion on how the judiciary should apply the law in tackling technical matter not within their knowledge.

In March, the Chief Justice, Hon Bart M. Katureebe launched the Judiciary Score Card which was a culmination of research carried out for the period of 2017. The Score Card was generated by the CEPIL team and submitted to the Coalition in Support of the Independence of the Judiciary to provide technical input. This initiative is geared towards improving the efficiency and accountability of judicial officers in the administration of justice.

Following the results of the Score Card, we teamed up with Uganda Law Society to offer the award of distinguished service in the administration of justice to Justice Stella Arach Amoko for her exemplary service in the year 2017. Our goal is that when we recognize excellent performance, it will in turn encourage various judicial officers to excel in service delivery.

One of our key milestones this quarter is that the Lamogi Clan agreed to form a trust and have made tremendous steps towards formalizing the formation of a trust. This will go a long way towards securing customary tenure in Acholi Land.

Through these activities the theme of justice is paramount. In the words of Theodore Parker, “Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

We each must bear this duty to do justice at all times. Ours is a formidable call. We hope to inspire many to rise to the challenge to do justice.

Sincerely,

Diana Angwech

Ag. Executive Director

 

Judiciary Project

  1. Promoting Judicial Independence through gauging judgments of transformative nature.

In January a land mark judgment was delivered in the case of David Chandi Jamwa V Uganda (Criminal Appeal No. 77 of 2011). The judgment broadly discussed issues on causing financial loss and abuse of office under the Anti-Corruption Act. The reasoning for upholding the conviction in this case as stated by the learned justices sparked interests and varying arguments amongst different professionals. Recognizing the need to provide both legal and financial insight into how bonds work, CEPIL organized a dialogue inviting various stakeholders to discuss the judgment under the theme; “Is the law in sync with proper economic management trends?”

This discussion took place at Sheraton Kampala hotel with about 40 participants in attendance. The gist of the discussion was centered on whether in selling a bond before its maturity date, the Managing Director of NSSF had caused financial loss. The discussants argued that only one bond was singled out of many other bonds at the time and that could not be a basis to say that he had caused financial loss. It was also said that it was well within his right as a Managing Director to sale off a bond to a third party before its maturity date however on the other hand, the participants argued that he did not demonstrate any reason or urgency for doing so in the premises. This argument was rebuffed stating that the burden of proof was always on the prosecution and it did not shift to the accused to prove that he had reinvested the money wisely.

The following recommendations were made by the discussants;

  1. That in adjudication of such complex matters, judges should carefully look at expert evidence and evaluate all the evidence before them based solely on its merits.
  2. Judges should be independent of all external factors while making their decisions.
  • Stakeholders should avail more opportunities for discussion of important issues to broaden the public’s participation and understanding.

 

  1. Enhancing Efficiency in the Administration of Justice

On the 28th day of March, 2018 the Chief Justice, Hon. Bart M. Katureebe launched the Judiciary Score Card which was authored by Centre for Public Interest Law. Research was carried out for a period of five months for the year 2017 using the benchmarks agreed upon by judiciary. A section of 12 courts; Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Criminal, Commercial and Land Divisions, Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Masaka and Mbarara High Court Circuits and two magistrates courts, Mengo and Nakawa were picked to carry out research. Both a quantitative and qualitative methodology were used to effectively score the performance of judicial officials and courts. The parameters used to come up with the final score were; Fairness in Administration of Justice, Impartiality, Professionalism, Certainty, Behavior and Attitude and Communication.

The results show that that the following were the best in their different courts;

Supreme Court Justice Stella Arach Amoko
Court of Appeal Justice Remmy Kasule
High Court Justice Stephen Mubiru
Chief Magistrates Court Worship Everest Faith Palodi

 

The score card also showed the percentage of the judicial officers scored

Performance Scores % Scored
Exceptional +90 14
Very Good 80-90 30
Good 70-80 32
Fair 60-70 19
Low 50-60 5

 

Criminal Division emerged as an exceptional court and Gulu as a low performing court. These studies were verified with reports by other institutions including the JLOS reports 2016 which show the performance of the courts.

The chief Justice in his speech recognized the efforts made towards improving the efficiency of the Judiciary and commended CEPIL for making a report that was well received by the judiciary. He later launched the report alongside the Deputy Chief Justice, coalition members and other judicial officers present.

The following recommendations were cited in the report;

  1. Recruit more judicial officers so as to address case backlog and to enable the decentralization of the Court of Appeal, the creation of more High Court circuits and the establishment of courts in the newly created districts
  2. Introduce various trainings for judicial officers and select particular judicial officers to attend such trainings.
  • There is need to increase funding towards the judiciary as a lot of processes and administration of justice were hampered by lack of funding. The passing of the Administration of Judiciary bill would be a step towards improving the financial autonomy of the institution.

 

  1. Awards to outstanding Judicial Officers

In a bid to recognize outstanding judicial officers, and promote efficiency, CEPIL came up with an idea of awarding best performing judicial officers . Basing on the score card where over 2500 litigants, over 500 lawyers provided insight into their interface with the courts and judicial officers, Justice Stella Arach Amoko ranked highest as an exceptional performer in the administration of Justice. On the 28th of March 2018, in conjunction with Uganda Law Society under the ULS Gala Awards, she was presented with the award for the distinguished service in the administration of Justice.

These awards will be held every year show casing the performance of judicial officers to improve the state of service delivery.

Key Mile stones

Under the land rights project, we are committed to promoting Customary Tenure as a means of protecting land rights in Acholi land. On that premise, in the month of February, we held a meeting with the Lamogi clan where they agreed and signed forms to create a trust. The elders of the clan will after the formalization of the trust hold the land in trust for the clan. They will be able to carry out activities on the land that will lead to the social-economic transformation of that society.

 

Upcoming Events

  1. Media Dialogue
  2. Land Symposium
  3. Launch of the Trust