KAMPALA– President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has appreciated the role by played by Judiciary in dispensing justice among the people.
“When the people come to the courts, they expect to get justice, within a short period of time. They look at the courts as their last hope and that is why the Judges, Registrars and Magistrates, have a noble role to play in ensuring that all Ugandans get justice.” Said Museveni in his message delivered by Vice President Jessica Alupo at the opening of New law year at Judiciary headquarters
He therefore encouraged Judicial Officers, the State Attorneys, Police, Prison staff, advocates among other stakeholders to build capacity and acquire knowledge and skills in emerging sophisticated crimes arising from technological Advancement and globalization of human activities like; money laundering, terrorism financing, trafficking in persons, smuggling in wildlife and wildlife.
“Your Lordship, I am also aware of a number of innovative mechanisms the Judiciary has introduced to tackle the issue of case backlog by introducing case management reforms such as mediation, plea bargaining, small claims procedure and the use of information communications technology like the Electronic Case Management System. These are good interventions to ease access to justice by the wanainchi and to promote harmony among the people.”
Museveni promised on behalf of Government to continue supporting the judiciary in realization of its agenda.
The Chief Justice Aliphonse Owiny Dollo in his remarks reported to the President that the Judiciary for the past years has registered a number of achievements due to improved financing and they hope to perform much better if all the existing financial gaps are bridged.
“The performance of Magistrates at individual ranks in 2021, the Magistrates grade one completed the highest number of cases (133,191 cases) followed by Chief Magistrates with 36,190 cases. This was strongly correlated with staffing levels at respective individual ranks , with Magistrate grade one having the highest number of 270 judicial officers, followed by Chief Magistrates who are 82 in total and 18 grade two Magistrates.”
Dollo also revealed that the Magistrates Courts and Magisterial Areas instrument, 2024 has been finalized and awaits publication. “when operationalized , the judiciary will establish a Chief Magistrates court for every district and grade one Magistrate for every countu constituency to reduce on distance covered, transportation costs and undue adjournments due to failure of witnesses to attend court.”
The Case backlog in the year 2022 stood at 43,921 cases while in 2023 case backlog reduced to 43,161cases recording a reduction by 760 cases.
The Chief Justice thanked the Government for having progressively increased the judiciary’s budget to 800 billion shillings during the medium term , however at the moment they have not yet even received half of it which has slowed down their transformation Agenda process.
The event attracted Legal practitioners from various backgrounds, ministers, Members of Parliament, Academia and advocates from private practice.