In a significant development, the Court of Appeal has extended its services to the Kigezi region for the first time. The Court is currently hearing 33 criminal appeal cases at Kabale High court in Kabale District.
The special session, which is being overseen by Justice Muzamiru Kibwedi, Justice Christopher Gashirabake, and Justice Oscar Kihika, will focus on cases of murder, robbery, defilement, rape, and manslaughter.
During the opening ceremony, Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera disclosed that submissions from both plaintiffs’ and defendants’ lawyers have already been filed. This measure aims to streamline the judicial process and save the judges’ time in analyzing cases and delivering rulings.
Buteera also underscored the importance of prioritizing Arbitration and Conciliation. He advocated for the appointment of a mediator to facilitate reconciliation between parties. This, he believes, will alleviate the burden of case backlog and reduce the time spent in court as parties seek justice.
Justice Kisembo, the officer in charge of Ndorwa government prison, revealed that among the inmates set to appear before the Court of Appeal are condemned prisoners. Though the initial count was 36 cases, two accused individuals were released after serving sentences, and another passed away in 2017. Kisembo assured cooperation between the prison department and the Judiciary for the seamless running of the appeal session.
Superintendent of Police Yiga Gonzaga, Officer in Charge of the Criminal Department for the Kigezi region, and Lawyer Justus Muhangi, the Chairperson for Advocates in the Kigezi region, highlighted the challenges faced due to the absence of a Court of Appeal in Kigezi. They explained that many cases ended up at the High Court because plaintiffs found it challenging to travel to Kampala. Muhangi shared that he had to abandon some cases for his clients before the Court of Appeal due to the considerable distance between Kigezi and Kampala.
The Court of Appeal’s presence in Kigezi is expected to improve access to justice for residents of the region. It will also reduce the burden on the High Court and expedite the resolution of criminal appeal cases.
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org