What you need to know:
- The Kabale District chairperson, Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija, promised to convince his council to allocate a piece of land to the Judiciary where the Court Of Appeal centre can be established.
Deputy Chief Justice Richard Butera has emphasised the need to revise the current jurisdiction of magistrates so as to handle more cases and ensure timely delivery of justice.
Justice Butera said the current jurisdiction of Grade One magistrates and chief magistrates handling cases below Shs20m and Shs50m, respectively is not sufficient to deliver timely justice.
“While we accept that every district must have a chief magistrate and every sub-county a grade one magistrate, there is need to revise the jurisdiction of these officers so that they can handle most of the cases and the High Court handles the appeals from these cases,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Justice was speaking at the opening of a special Court of Appeal session at Kabale High Court in Kabale Town on Monday.
He added that as Judiciary administration, they appeal for expeditious disposal of cases to get rid of the case backlog.
“The cornerstone to justice is speedy trial, proper compliance with the law and quick delivery of justice. For criminal cases if someone is suspected to have committed an offence, he or she should be informed quickly that he is guilty or innocent,” he said.
“We must avoid keeping people in courts of law because they need to go back home to concentrate on their business or farming activities,” Justice Butera explained.
The special Court of Appeal session led by justices Muzamiru Kibeedi, Christopher Gashirabake and Oscar Kihika will hear and determine 33 criminal appeals. These include 17 for murder, three for robbery, 11 for defilement, one for rape and one for manslaughter.
Justice Butera also urged the judicial officials to promote the use of the alternative forms of dispute resolutions such as small claims procedure, mediation, pre-bargaining and arbitration, saying they create harmony among the disagreeing parties.
“Mediation has been a traditional way of resolving conflicts in Uganda communities where elders and clan leaders would sit and resolve any form of misunderstanding. Such mechanisms should be embraced by the judicial officials in resolving conflicts because they create harmony compared to full trials,” Justice Butera said.
He also revealed that plans are under way to increase the number of Court of Appeal judges from 15 to at least 56 besides establishing courts at regional levels for timely delivery of justice.
The Kabale District chairperson, Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija, promised to convince his council to allocate a piece of land to the Judiciary where the Court Of Appeal centre can be established.
“Sometime back Kabale District Council allocated a piece of land on which Kabale University is operating, it also donated land to Judiciary where the Kabale High Court is located, and we also donated land where the regional Director of Public Prosecutions constructed its offices,” he said.
“In the same vein we are ready to donate land on which the court of appeal centre can be constructed,” he added.