Justice and security

The International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda: Towards Greater Effectiveness

East Africa
Secretariat of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law

This report presents an account of activities, findings and observations of a short survey conducted under a short term pilot project by the Ugandan Law Society titled “The International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda: Towards Greater Effectiveness”. This project was funded by the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law under the Knowledge Management Fund. The main project objectives were to: foster effective victim participation at the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda; create knowledge around the High Court as a tool to promote accountability for grave crimes; encourage collaboration between citizens and the High Court as a way to foster lasting peace and security; and to create ownership and trust between the citizens and the High Court.

This intervention was essentially focused on strengthening the demand side by: informing the public through civil society and media about the significance and operations of the ICD; working with legal practitioners to identify challenges and alternatives to improve the Court’s responsiveness to its mandate; and finally, working with the Court’s Registry to determine the best way to ensure access to information on the court. With continued support, the ULS intends to establish a database of a pool of advocates specifically attached to the ICD in the near future.

The survey was conducted through interviews with victims in post conflict areas, community leaders, legal practitioners who closely interact with victims and the ICD, Court officials at the ICD and from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The interviews were aimed at enhancing victim participation at the ICD and ensuring access to information on the ICD’s operations.

The study proposals are an outcome of our interactions and consultations with the above stakeholders and it is envisaged that these proposals will contribute to addressing the gaps identified at the ICD in relation to victim inclusion and access to information.

It is also envisaged that the outcomes will contribute to Uganda’s observance of international human rights commitments by promoting and ensuring access to justice.

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