The Judiciary in partnership with the Governance and Security Programme and support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is set to hold another phase of the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Special Session starting August 15, 2022.
The coming session is the 5th one following the success stories of the first four phases where a lot of yields has been registered.
The 5th session will be conducted together with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS), Uganda Police Force (UPF), Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
According to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Jane Frances Abodo using the above institutions in the past sessions, 48 participating courts have been able to clear 2,751 cases.
“We have registered great strides in terms of improved conviction rates for SGBV cases. For example, in the first phase, we registered 64 per cent, 70 per cent in the second phase, 74 per cent in the third phase and 70 per cent in the fourth phase. In terms of clearance rate, over 95 per cent of the cause-listed cases have been concluded,” she said on Friday during the launch of the 5th session in Kampala.
The sessions commenced in 2018 in the districts of Kapchorwa, Masaka, Gulu, Lira, Iganga, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Sironko, Iganga and Mbale. They have been handled at both High Court and Chief Magistrates Courts levels.
In Phase One, 750 cases were cause-listed and 641 cases were completed. Only 37 cases were adjourned to the next session. In Phase Two, 746 cases were cause-listed with a completion rate of 270 cases at the High Court level and 408 cases at the Chief Magistrates level. 40 cases were adjourned by the High Court to the next session while 28 cases were adjourned by the Chief Magistrates Courts.
In Phase Three, the SGBV sessions were conducted in the districts of Kampala, specifically at the Criminal Division, Luwero, Moroto, Gulu, Arua, Masindi/Kiryadongo, Mubende/Kiboga, Jinja, Iganga, Kapchorwa and Fort Portal/Bundibugyo by the High Court while four sessions were conducted by the Chief Magistrates Courts at Tororo, Apac, Amuria/Soroti and Nakapiripirit. In this phase, a total of 730 cases were caused- listed out of which 619 were disposed of.
In Phase Four, the special sessions were conducted in the districts of Tororo, Iganga, Mbarara, Kampala, Gulu, Moroto, Kasese, Masaka, Otuke, Adjumani at the High Court level and the Districts of Tororo, Busia, Apac and Nakapiripirit at the Chief Magistrates level. In this phase, 771 cases were cause-listed and 682 cases were disposed of.
Justice Abodo added that although Phase Three and Four were conducted during the prevalence of the COVID- 19 pandemic, that did not inhibit the zeal and determination of the judicial officers and other justice actors who were selected to handle the cases as seen in the disposal rates.
Meanwhile in the 5th session, 10 High Court sessions will be conducted in Tororo, Bushenyi, Kitgum, Mbarara, Kiryandongo, Nakasongola, Kamwenge, Nebbi, Kamuli and Lwengo and four sessions at the Chief Magistrate’s Courts of Amuria, Tororo, Pader and Kayunga.
The special sessions are being undertaken as part of the Government of Uganda’s obligation under the Maputo and Kampala Declaration of 2011 which enjoins Uganda to set up a special framework (special sessions, special procedures and specially trained personnel) to dispose of SGBV cases as part of a member state of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
According to Abodo, the selection of project districts was based on the donor priority districts as well as areas where SGBV is prevalent, which was informed by statistics availed by the programme institutions.
The main objective of the project is to test the viability of using a specialized framework to dispose of SGBV cases but specifically to: improve efficiency and effectiveness in the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of SGBV cases Ensuring a victim-centred approach to addressing cases of SGBV.
And also to sensitize the public about the urgent need to address Sexual and Gender-Based violence in line with Uganda’s commitments in the Kampala Declaration, Maputo Protocol and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 16.
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