On 7th December, 2022,the Judiciary, the legal fraternity and the country at large lost an icon of justice, Justice Ruby Opio Aweri.
The news of the demise of justice Aweri shocked the Judiciary and because of his meritorious four-decade service, Supreme Court Judge Aweri has left a trail of impeccable character, sound output and inherent commitment that every judicial officer would desire to follow.
Due to his resilience in service, the fallen judge was serving as the Chief Inspector of Courts, responsible for overseeing staff discipline and performance.
But who was Justice Aweri?
Ruby Opio Aweri was born on 31st May 1953 in Kachunga village, Agwata Sub-county, Dokolo County, Lira District. He attained his primary education at Kachunga Primary School and Agwata Primary School between 1960 and 1969.
Aweri obtained an East African Certificate of Education at Lango College Lira, in 1973 and an East African Advanced Certificate of Education at Dr Obote College, Boroboro, Lira in 1977.
On 8th October 1981, he was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Makerere University and on 31st January 1983 he obtained a Post- Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre and later on a Master of Law Degree from Makerere University.
During his life journey, Aweri participated in a number of social and community activities. He was a prefect during his school days at Lango College, a Treasurer of the Uganda Magistrates Association between 1993 and 1997, a Deputy Diocesan Chancellor for Mbale Diocese between 1988 and 1998, a Vice Chairperson of the Board of Governors of Agwata Secondary School and Dr Obote College, respectively from 1992 to 1993 and 2016 to 2019.
Justice Opio Aweri was also a Part-Time Lecturer and Examiner of Business Law at Uganda College of Commerce, Aduku from 1984 to 1991, an Examiner (Orals) at the Law Development Centre from 1995 to 1997 and a Chancellor of Uganda Pentecostal University from 2015 to 2022.
He joined the Judiciary as a Magistrate Grade One in 1983 and rose through the ranks until he was appointed Judge of the High Court in 1998. He was later elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2013 and to the Supreme Court in 2015; at the time of his death, Justice Opio was managing a number of noble assignments within the Judiciary Service including, serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court, Chief Inspector of Courts and member of the Judiciary Council.
When he was taken ill, he was in Karamoja Region for his quarter two inspection routine and had covered the districts of Moroto, Namalu, Nabilatuk and Nakapirirpirit. He was en route to Abim, Kotido and Kaabong districts when Justice Aweri, having diligently served his country for about 40 years was due to retire on the 31st of May 2023 upon clocking 70 years of age, unfortunately, he died on the frontline. He was married to Mrs Susan Acen Aweri and together had ten children.
According to the judiciary, the fallen Supreme Court Judge started feeling weak, around the 20th of November 2022. He visited a number of medical facilities until he was hospitalized at Nakasero Hospital from where he was transferred to Mulago National Referral Hospital where he eventually died.
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