International Crimes Division
The International Crimes Division is a special Division of High Court of Uganda which was established in July 2008. Hon. Justice James Ogoola a Principal Judge of the High Court as he then was pursuant to Article 141 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 established War Crimes Division (now THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMES DIVISION OF THE HIGH COURT).
Its establishment was away of fulfilling the Government of Uganda’s commitment to the actualization of Juba Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation. Considering the civil wars and a series of other internal conflicts, which Uganda has experienced in the recent past, it decided to establish the ICD to try the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity including commanders of the LRA and other rebel groups.
Under section 6 of The High Court (International Crimes Division) Practice Directions, Legal Notice No. 10 of 2011, the division is intended to deal with those who have committed serious crimes which are:
2.Crimes against Humanity
6.Piracy and other international crimes.
While originally meant to be part of a comprehensive peace agreement with the LRA, the International Crimes Division has come to be viewed as a court of ‘’complementarity’’ with respect to the International Criminal Court, thus fulfilling the principle of complementarity stipulated in the preamble and Article 1 of the Rome Statute.
During the month of June 2009, the Judges, Prosecutors and investigators launched an outreach strategy initially targeting the areas badly affected by the war in the Acholi, Lango and Teso Sub-Regions as well as the District of Adjumani, where they interacted with stake holders in the war including local leaders and those in IDP Camps. The major outcome of the outreach was that majority of the people welcomed the creation of the Division and expressed eagerness to give evidence to the investigators.
In June 2009, the relevant members of the Court, the DPP, ULRC, ULS, Religious leaders, academia, UHRC and Head of the Prosecution Unit for International Crimes Division and Judge from the ICC met the legal and parliamentary Committee to present their views on the domestication of the Rome Statute. Uganda’s ICC Bill became Law on 25th May, 2010 and thus commenced on 25th June, 2010. It is cited as the International Criminal Court Act No.11 of 2010.
The Rome Statute was domesticated and Act entered into force on 25th June 2010; which is now The ICC Act of 2010 that allows Ugandan courts to try crimes against humanity, international crimes and Genocide. The Act is to give effect to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to provide for offences under the law of Uganda corresponding to offences within the jurisdiction of that court.
The Act’s objectives include:-
\r\n a) To implement Uganda’s obligations under the Rome Statute of the ICC;
\r\n b) To make further provision in Uganda’s law for the punishment of the international crimes of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and international crimes;
\r\n c) To enable Ugandan courts to try, convict and sentence persons who have committed crimes referred to in the statute.(Article 2 of the ICC Act,2010)
\r\n MISSION AND VISION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMES DIVISION:
The ICD’S mission is to fight impunity and promote Human Rights, Peace and justice. The Vision is to have a strong and independent Judiciary that delivers and is seen by the people to deliver justice and contribute to the Economic, social and political transformation of society based on Rule of Law.
\r\n PRESENT LOCATION.
The Division is located at Plot 8 Mabua Road, Kololo, Kampala- Uganda.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE ICD:
\r\n The proceedings before the ICD shall be open to the public and press subject to the enumerated exceptions in Article 28(2) of the Uganda Constitution. The Division may sit as a panel of a minimum of three Judges, as may be designated by the Head of the Division as per section 4(2) of the High Court (International Crimes Division) Practice Directions, Legal Notice No.10 of 2011, but the Division consists of five Judges. Such individuals shall be persons of high moral character, impartiality, and integrity.
\r\n The Division shall adopt Rules of Procedure and Evidence applicable to criminal trials in Uganda. Where no express provision is made under any written law, the Court shall adopt such other procedure as it considers to be justifiable and appropriate in all the circumstances taking into account of section 141 of the Trial on Indictments Act, Cap 23 and section 39 of the Judicature Act, Cap 13, and having regard to rights and views of the parties. Appeals from the decisions of the ICD lie to the Court of Appeal, and then to the supreme court of Uganda in accordance with the procedures of Ugandan law governing appeals.
\r\n LAWS APPLICABLE BY THE ICD:
The law which shall be applied by the ICD comprise of the existing criminal laws such as:-
The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995,
The Trial on Indictment Act, Cap 23,
The Penal Code Act, Cap 120,
The Evidence Act Cap 6,
The International Criminal Court Act, 2010 Act No.11 of 2010.
The Geneva Conventions Act, Cap.363
\r\n JURISDICTION OF THE ICD:
Section 6 of The High Court (International Crimes Division) Practice Directions, NO.10 of 2011 is to the effect that without prejudice to Article 139 of the Constitution, the Division shall try any offence relating to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism, human trafficking, piracy and any other international crime as may be provided for under the Penal Code Act, Cap 120,The Geneva Conventions Act,Cap 363,The International Criminal Court Act, No.11 of 2010 or under any other penal enactment.