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Gender-based violence courts to be established next year

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The Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo has said Uganda will establish special court sessions in 2018 that will handle Sex and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) related cases.

According to the DCJ, the development is in line with the Kampala Declaration that was ratified by the 12 GLR member states of Uganda, Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia, in 2014.

“I call upon external parties including civil society groups to render a hand in the establishment of special courts that will handle gender based cases and rehabilitation facilities in the prisons,” Justice Owiny Dollo said during a three-day GLR conference on SGBV held at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo over the weekend.

He said the judiciary would support efforts against SGBV by “bringing analysis to policy and by using judicial rules of procedure for justice to prevail.”

DPP Justice Mike Chibita

Meanwhile, in his submission the Director of Public Prosecutions Mike Chibita W’aDuallo said that the limited use of forensic and scientific evidence in SGBV cases has led to miscarriage in Uganda and in the Great Lakes Region courts.

According to Justice Chibita, despite legislative efforts by the Uganda government, there is lack of special facilities to conduct among others the DNA tests, in the process affecting substantial evidence needed to link the perpetrators of sex to their victims.

“Even after being examined, victims shun to appear before court for prosecution of the perpetrators saying that they have not been paid and this has led has led to increase of the vice,” Justice Chibita said.

According to DPP, the investigators handling theft related cases are the same people who handling SBGV cases, leading to unsuccessful prosecution derived from poor investigations.

He also noted that the judiciary currently lacks the legal and institutional frameworks for the protection of victims.

“The law provides for the rights and protection of suspects and does not do the same regarding protection of victims of crime,” Justice Chibita said.

Sexual offences including rape and aggravated defilement form the bulk of cases in any given High Court sessions in Uganda due to lack of substantial skills among other challenges for speedy trial and prosecution of perpetrators, the DPP noted.

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