Deputy Chief Justice, HL Richard Buteera

Chief Justices and other distinguished jurists have today concluded a four-day high level Judicial Symposium on Digitization and Internet Governance in Nairobi to share experiences, ideas and perspectives on the administration of justice and the question of digitization and internet governance.

The Ugandan Judiciary was represented by the Deputy Chief Justice, HL Richard Buteera, who delivered a paper titled “Digital Transformation of Judiciaries in Africa and Experience in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

The Deputy Chief Justice, who represented the Chief Justice, shared the Ugandan Judiciary’s experience to deliver justice amidst Covid-19 protocols. “The Judiciary had to devise means of ensuring that Justice would continue to be administered to the citizens in the circumstances created by Covid-19,” he said.

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Adding that the use of Information and Communication Technology had to be fully exploited to ensure that people from whom Judicial authority is derived continued to get Justice.

He stressed the need for Judiciaries in Africa to adopt to the emerging new technologies if they are to match and fit within the current global world. “The application of appropriate Digital Transformation Strategies in the Judiciaries across Africa can aid in access to Justice by all,” he said.

The DCJ noted that COVID-19 is a Pandemic that has had negative consequences to the administration of justice. Some good lessons have been learnt especially in the utilization of Information Communication Technology to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 Pandemic but also to enhance the administration of justice.

This was a call that was reiterated by the Kenyan Chief Justice, Martha Koome, who called upon the Chief Justices to design regulatory frameworks and adopt approaches to judicial intervention in disputes over digitization and internet governance that ensure digital technologies and the internet work for the greatest benefit of the society.

“In my view, we should approach the digital world as a global public good. Under such a conception of the digital world we would see the problems associated with digitization and internet, such as cybercrimes, misinformation, political propaganda and the propagation of hate speech as polluters of our common/shared resources,” she said.

The Kenyan Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, noted that the Judiciary of Kenya was keen and eager to utilize and exploit the vast knowledge and experiences across sister jurisdictions represented at the Symposium.