JUDICIARY Latest Features

PJ visit excites Karamoja Sub-region
Group Photo: Hon. Justice Dr Zeija (M) with other members at the Moroto Chief Magistrate Court

The Principal Judge, Hon. Justice Dr Flavian Zeija, was on Tuesday (September 1,2020) commended by the district leadership in Amudat as the first member of the Judiciary Top Management to tour courts in Karamoja sub-region.

The Amudat District Chairperson, Mr. Francis Kiyonga, shared this during PJ's tour of the magisterial area. The tour is part of his tour of Soroti High Court circuit,which handles both Teso and Karamoja sub-regions.

Amudat Court

The court operates in a one-roomed office, which it shares with the Uganda Law Society Legal Aid Office. One support staff assists the Court. HW Matthew Longoli who is care taking the station explained that when he has to hold Court it is under a tree as there is no space in his one-corner chambers.

He explained that the Court previously operated in the district town hall building, but relocated from the building to allow the District renovate the structure so that they can start paying rent. Unfortunately, this has never been realized and as a result, the administration of justice has been affected.

HW Longoli explained that the lack of transport had made it difficult to adequately supervise Amudat and Nakapiripirit courts, as transport is hard to come by. In spite of all these challenges, the Court does not have any backlog.Although there are only four capital cases pending at the Court.

The Court does not have furniture and what is available is borrowed furniture from the district Council.

Sanctioning of criminal files for the Court is done in Nakapiripirit since that is where the resident prosecutor is based.

The Amudat RDC, Mr. Geoffrey Aluma, said the District has allocated two acres of land for the construction of court in the area but they are yet to formally accept the offer. "The district allocated land to different state agencies such as Court, Prisons, Police and the Army. While the other agencies have accepted the offer, the Judiciary is yet to respond," Mr. Aluma said.

Hon. Justice Dr Zeija thanked the district for their generosity and pledged to follow up to ensure that a formal response is made.

Nakapiripirit Court

The PJ also had inspected the Nakapiripirit Court and interacted with the Court staff.He heard that although it is a Chief Magistrates Court, Nakapiripirit has never had a resident CM, and the sub-court at Nabilatuk has never been operationalized yet there is yearning for judicial services.

The Court has only three support staff, with no process server, secretary or cashier. The court has one latrine, which is used by the staff, litigants and inmates. There are 30 cases categorized as backlog before Magistrate Grade One while there are 47 matters pending before the High Court.

Moroto Chief Magistrate Court

At this Court, the Chief Magistrate, HW Geofrey Emmy Sayekwo and Magistrate Grade One, HW James Opio welcomed the PJ.

The meeting was joined by the Karamoja Police Commander, CP Ronald Twishime, who shared that cases classified under Sexual and Gender Based Violence are most prevalent in the region.

The CM shared that the Court has only two support staff. In a guided tour of the premises, HW Sayekwo, showed the several deep cracks on the building, which needed to be urgently fixed. There is only one courtroom, which affects handling of matters especially when there is a visiting Judicial Officer.

He called for the repairing of the old court structure so that it can be used as a court hall. Although the court has solar power, the batteries have weakened and cannot offer any backup at the court.

The PJ commended the Court for properly updating the registers capturing all results including transfer of cases. Although there are physical computers, none is functional. The cells still use the bucket system. HW Sayekwo informed the Principal Judge that Napak Court is not operational.

Katakwi Court

The day was concluded at Katakwi Magistrates Court. The chirped floor is what welcomes you at the courtís entrance. As you proceed to the magistrate's chambers, the ceiling boards have fallen out leaving the 'holey' iron roof bare.

The Resident Magistrate Grade One, HW Freddie Awacnedi, said the 18 year-old structure has aged very fast and needs rehabilitation.

The Court has 598 pending matters with 167 classified as backlog. The Court lacks internet connectivity, transport means or residence for the magistrate. There is no gate, which poses a security threat at the court and lack of furniture.

The PJ urged him to use the online option to access CCAS instead of waiting for it to be installed. During an inspection of the registry, the PJ shared best practices on how to achieve and organized register and the proper cataloging of files.

It was observed that part of the roof was made out of concrete while part of it was made out of soft boards. Part of the wall surrounding the holding cell is equally crumbling.

Overall,lack of staff and transport are the major challenges affecting most courts in the region.

The Assistant Registrar and Public Relations Officer, HW Jamson Karemani accompany the PJ.

Posted 2nd, September 2020
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