Lessons learnt from the 4th Joan Kagezi Memorial lecture

Wednesday May 1 2019



By Kenedy Musekura

Recently, the office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in conjunction with the European Union and Wayamo Foundation held the 4th annual Joan Kagezi Memorial Symposium under the theme: ‘Courts not Guns: Combating terrorism through the law.’
The key note address at the memorial was delivered by Mr Nicolas Guilou, a judge at the Kasovo Specialist Chambers. There was also a panel discussion, but I wish to react to some of the issues that arose from mainly the keynote address. Mr Guilou raised challenges that are encountered, but also offered some tips on how to fight the evil of terrorism:

On technology, he emphasised the need to train human resource in evidence gathering and how to collaborate with private sector players. For instance, telecommunication companies, which tend to hold massive data of people but also how to strike a balance on the right of privacy vis-à-vis the fight against terrorism. This remark came at time when one of the leading communication companies has been in the eye of the storm on security-related issues.

On whether or not to establish specialised courts that deals with terrorism, he was of the view that it is better to train judges because establishing courts are not sustainable in the long-run considering the fact that terrorism is not a frequent crime. He acknowledged that there is a legal lacuna (gap) in law, especially on the definition of terrorism even in the international statutes. He raised a challenge whereby some governments are having a tendency of using terrorism to prosecute political opponents.

I was impressed by the family of the late Kagezi for it seems to be progressing well. For instance, all of Kagezi’s children have either completed school or are about to finish their graduate studies. The family heard me ponder on the fate of other families whose fathers and mothers have died in the line of duty. I wondered whether there is a mechanisms in place to follow up on the children they left behind.
The Baganda say ‘Ekiibi Kigwanawara’ (loosely translated as one would rather hear bad news from far away), however, with due respect to the deceased, the few memorial lectures that I have attended, it is like their tragic death become a blessing in disguise in two ways:

First, as country, we benefit from the insights from various speakers at the memorials. Secondly, the families of the deceased never remain the same, perhaps due to constant publicity given to the lectures, it is common to hear that the families they leave behind are either working in prominent organisations, studying in good institutions/having good schooling or sometimes upon completion of their studies, they get assimilated/absorbed in the institution their fathers or mothers were working in.
Perhaps, some families get the opportunities which they wouldn’t have got had the deceased (mother or father) been alive.
Kenedy Musekura,