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NETPIL Calls for Effective Access to Justice

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The Network of Public Interest Lawyers (NETPIL) has called on various state actors (police, security agencies, courts of law) to ensure effective access to justice as well as effective remedies to the people of Uganda. This call was made at a media breakfast meeting held on Wednesday, 17th November, 2021 at Piato Restaurant in Kampala. The meeting was intended to equip media personnel with knowledge and skills to report on abuses as well as seek a remedy for victims. The Report titled ‘The 2021 General Elections’ in Uganda: Human Rights Violations & the Spectacle of Violence’ produced by NETPIL was also shared.

NETPIL brings together individual lawyers, CSOs/NGOs and law firms committed to public interest litigation and advocacy; NETPIL is hosted by the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) established at the School of law, Makerere University in 2012. PILAC seeks to promote hands-on experiential learning as well as exposing students to ‘live’ cases of individuals who have been confronted by the law in its varied manifestations.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Arthur Nsereko – Coordinator, NETPIL said ‘Access to justice (A2J) is a right and basic principle of the rule of law. In the absence of access to justice, people are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers accountable’. He noted that numerous reports have been recorded on violations and abuse in Uganda, but never follow through with access to justice for the abused.

Mr. Nsereko further explained that the State has a duty to respect, protect and fulfil rights including particularly the duty of states to ensure that the rights are implemented through the provision of legislative measures and judicial remedies, in accordance with the national legal system. The State is also obliged to take appropriate steps both to prevent rights violations and to investigate, punish and redress such abuse when it does occur – in other words, to provide access to remedy.

Facts shared at the meeting about the November 2020 riots highlighted that at least 54 people including women and children were reported extra judicially killed where 32 were adjudged rioters, hit by stray bullets while 22 persons were declared innocent and these included juveniles. However, an effective remedy, including reparation and compensation have not been possible for those affected which is a violation of rights.

Ms. Veronica Kange – Legal Officer, Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC), School of law, Makerere University makes her presentation.
Ms. Veronica Kange – Legal Officer, Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC), School of law, Makerere University makes her presentation.

Presenting at the meeting, Ms. Veronica Kange – Legal Officer, PILAC said ‘for the violation of every right, there must be a remedy. Rights and Freedoms are meaningless if there are no consequences for their violations. For a remedy to be adequate, it should be accessible, affordable, timely and effective. The remedies should be simple and urgent’.

‘There is an expectation by victims to access effective remedies premised on restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, guarantees of non-repetition as well as satisfaction’, Ms. Kange noted.

Issues arising from the presentations and discussions included:

  • In boardrooms, lecture rooms we may not be able to solve the challenges hence involvement of the media to disseminate the messages.
  • There is a right to truth, justice and remedy.
  • Uganda has very good laws but implementation is poor.
  • Backlog in courts deters people from seeking for justice in courts of law.
  • There is need for effective court processes.
  • There is common belief that justice is for the rich because of the costs involved.
  • There is thought that the state has abdicated its responsibility.
  • Appreciate that police and government always say that they will investigate but how soon do the remedies happen.
  • Pre-emptive statement by leaders biases the final decision example bail discussions in parliament.
  • The State must respect its institutions.
  • Treatment of suspects by the statement.
  • Police and other security agencies should desist from use of force or live ammunition when dealing with suspects.
  • Interim reports would be welcome as we await final report.
  • Opportunity to engage the institutions concerned by civil society but where it fails then alternative steps can be explored.

At the end of the meeting, a press statement on the ‘denial of political players’ to access broadcasting houses’ was presented.

Please see Downloads below for the presentations.

Zaam Ssali is the Principal Communication Officer SoL & MakCHS

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High Level Delegation from East African Court of Justice visit Mak School of Law

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The High Level Delegation from East African Court of Justice (EACJ) poses for a group photo with the DVCFA-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (6th L), Ag. Principal-Assoc. Prof. Ronald Naluwairo (4th L), Staff and Students at the School of Law on 30th November 2022.

On 30th November 2022, a delegation of Honourable Justices of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) visited Makerere University School of Law to engage academia and students in promoting Justice in the East African Community Integration Agenda.

The joyous School of Law Leaders welcoming the EACJ High Level Delegation.
The joyous School of Law Leaders welcoming the EACJ High Level Delegation.

The visiting delegation was led by Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera – Judge President of the EACJ together withHon. Justice Kathurima M’Inoti – Judge EACJ Appellate Division, Hon. Justice Cheborion Barishaki – Judge EACJ Appellate Division; Hon. Justice Yohane Masara – Principal JudgeEACJ, Hon. Justice Dr. Charles Nyawello -Deputy Principal JudgeEACJ, Hon Justice Richard Wabwire Wejuli – Judge EACJ First Instance Division and Her Worship Christine Mutimura Wekesa – Deputy Registrar EACJ.

The Principal School of Law, Assoc.Prof. Ronald Naluwairo (Second Right) leading the EACJ delegation to the Venue, Right is the Judge President, EACJ Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera.
The Principal School of Law, Assoc.Prof. Ronald Naluwairo (Second Right) leading the EACJ delegation to the Venue, Right is the Judge President, EACJ Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera.

The EACJ delegation was accompanied by members from the Judiciary of Uganda i.e., Hon. Lady Justice Anne Mugenyi – Deputy Head of Commercial Division High Court Uganda, Her Worship Juliet Hatanga – Deputy Registrar Commercial Division High Court Uganda, and Her Worship Juliet Nakitende – Assistant Registrar Commercial Division High Court Uganda.

On arrival, the EACJ delegation were received by the Leadership of the School of Law led by Assoc. Professor Ronald Naluwairo – Principal, Dr. Zahara Nampewo – Deputy Principal, Heads of Department and staff. They were led on a tour of an exhibition of material produced by research centres at the School of Law.

The delegation proceeded to the School Auditorium to engage students.
The delegation proceeded to the School Auditorium to engage students.

Welcoming the delegation to the School of Law, the Principal, Assoc. Professor Ronald Naluwairo said, ‘we are privileged to host the EACJ as you celebrate 21 years of existence and in a year that Makerere is celebrating 100 years. We are grateful that you chose to spend this special day with us’. Assoc. Professor Naluwairo added that the School of Law recognizes the contribution of the EACJ to the fundamental principles of the East African Community especially good governance issues: adherence to principles of democracy, rule of law, social justice, accountability, transparency and gender equality.

Assoc. Prof. Ronald Naluwairo, Ag. Principal, School of Law giving his remarks.
Assoc. Prof. Ronald Naluwairo, Ag. Principal, School of Law giving his remarks.

In her remarks, Dr. Zahara Nampewo, Deputy Principal School of Law noted that the visit by a high level delegation from EACJ was a great opportunity for the students. ‘The students are able to see the Justices in real life, having read about their judgements’, she added.

Introducing the delegation, Deputy Registrar of EACJ, Her Worship Christine Mutimura Wekesa introduced the delegation to the students. Her Worship Christine Mutimura Wekesa who is an alumnus of the School fondly reminisced about her days as a student noting that some of the current faculty were her classmates. She urged the students to work hard as soon as they start law school; ‘years run so fast while you are here, don’t wait for the final year to start’, Her Worship advised.

Her Worship Christine Mutimura Wekesa introducing the EACJ High Level Delegation to the students.
Her Worship Christine Mutimura Wekesa introducing the EACJ High Level Delegation to the students.

Addressing the students, Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera, Judge President – EACJ said, ‘today is the 21st Anniversary of the East African Community Treaty and the court. We are beyond honored to celebrate our anniversary at Makerere University as you celebrate 100 years’. He thanked the School for receiving the delegation, ‘I am happy because I am in my house, we feel at home and a great day for us to be here’.

The Judge President, EACJ, Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera giving his remarks.
The Judge President, EACJ, Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera giving his remarks.

Judge President, Hon. Justice Kayobera encouraged the students to visit the EACJ and witness the work done. ‘The court belongs to you, you should come and see what is happening’ he said. He added that lawyers have a big role to play in as far as access to justice is concerned, ‘the Community needs legal people to resolve their legal issues’.

In his remarks, Mr. Percy Mpindi – President of Makerere Law Society requested the EACJ delegation to consider introduction of a Moot under their sponsorship dedicated to the service at EACJ and East African Community Integration Agenda. ‘This will help bridge the gap between student lawyers and the court’, Percy said.

Mr. Percy Mpindi – President, Makerere Law Society giving his remarks.
Mr. Percy Mpindi – President, Makerere Law Society giving his remarks.

Hon. Justice Kayobera welcomed Percy’ proposal and advised that Moot Competition is very important, however it would be better to have Moots organised based on judgement writing. Writing competitions could also organised for Law students and East African communities, Hon. Justice Kayobera added.

The EACJ Judge President handed over gifts to the School of Law which included: EACJ Law Reports, copies of the East African Community Treaty; and copies of the Rules of Procedure of the EACJ.

Assoc.Prof. Naluwairo showcasing some of the Book donations by the Judge President, EACJ to the School.
Assoc.Prof. Naluwairo showcasing some of the Book donations by the Judge President, EACJ to the School.

Professor Henry Alinaitwe, Deputy Vice Chancellor – Finance and Administration, Makerere University thanked the delegation for visiting Makerere University and the gifts given to the School of Law. Professor Alinaitwe noted that these visits inspire the students. ‘As a University, we are committed to having a strong School of Law ensuring that we admit the best through pre-entry exams, a new building for the School is under construction which will have state-of-the-art facilities and human resource capacity building for faculty is on-going’, the Deputy Vice Chancellor highlighted.

Professor Henry Alinaitwe, Deputy Vice Chancellor – Finance and Administration, Makerere University giving his remarks.
Professor Henry Alinaitwe, Deputy Vice Chancellor – Finance and Administration, Makerere University giving his remarks.

A vote of thanks was moved by Dr. Busingye Kabumba, Senior Lecturer and Ag. Director – Human Rights and Peace Centre, School of Law. Dr. Kabumba reiterated the message from Makerere Law Society of the willingness to work with the EACJ on various activities that would enhance promotion of Justice in the EA Community Integration Agenda. He added that the academia commit to continue engaging the EACJ on court jurisprudence.

Dr. Busingye Kabumba, Senior Lecturer and Ag. Director – Human Rights and Peace Centre, School of Law, conveying his thanks message to the EACJ High Level Delegation.
Dr. Busingye Kabumba, Senior Lecturer and Ag. Director – Human Rights and Peace Centre, School of Law, conveying his thanks message to the EACJ High Level Delegation.

Earlier in the day, the delegation met Professor Barnabas Nawangwe – Vice Chancellor Makerere University. They also held an informative engagement with the University Management; toured an exhibition of research outputs and innovations under the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF); and toured Makerere University Library with particular interest in the Law Section.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (7th Right) flanked by Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera (on his Left) – Judge President of East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Hon. Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri (on his Right) -Vice President EACJ together with some members of Uganda Judiciary and university management pose for a group photo after a meeting with university management at Frank Kalimuzo Building on 30th Nov 2022.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (7th Right) flanked by Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera (on his Left) – Judge President of East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Hon. Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri (on his Right) -Vice President EACJ together with some members of Uganda Judiciary and university management pose for a group photo after a meeting with university management at Frank Kalimuzo Building on 30th Nov 2022.
The EACJ High Level Delegation visiting the Makerere University Main Library Law Section.
The EACJ High Level Delegation visiting the Makerere University Main Library Law Section.

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East African Court of Justice celebrates 21st Anniversary: Delegation visits Makerere University to engage academia on promoting Justice in the East African integration agenda

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By Ritah Namisango

On 30th November 2022, the Vice Chancellor hosted a high powered delegation from the East African Court of Justice to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the Court focusing on engaging the academia in promoting Justice in the East African community integration agenda.

The President of the East African Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera led the delegation consisting of Hon. Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri- Vice President East African Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Yohane Masara- Principal Judge East African Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Dr. Charles Nyawello- Deputy Principal Judge East African Court of Justice, several other officials from the East African Court of Justice and members of Uganda’s judiciary.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe received the high powered delegation amidst lively performances and entertainment by Makerere University students from the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF).

Welcoming the Justices, the Vice Chancellor commended the delegation for ensuring that this historic visit and interaction with the academia happens during Makerere University’s centennial year (1922-2022).

[L-R]Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera, Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and Hon. Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri during the meeting with University Management

Starting his presentation, Prof. Nawangwe highlighted the evolution of the institution from a technical school with only 14 day students. In 1949, it became a University College affiliated to the University College of London, offering courses leading to the general degrees of its then mother institution. With the establishment of the University of East Africa in June 29, 1963, the special relationship with the University of London came to a close and degrees of the University of East Africa were instituted. On July 1, 1970, Makerere became an independent national university of the Republic of Uganda, offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses leading to its own awards. In 2011, the University transformed from a Faculty based institution to a Collegiate University with ten (10) colleges.

The gist of the Vice Chancellor’s presentation centered on Makerere University’s community based approach. He pointed out that in addition to training students, Makerere University is focused on solving development challenges facing the communities, the country, East Africa and the world in general.

Principal Judge Hon. Justice Yohane Masara [Left], one of the justices on the First Instance Division receive souvenirs from Prof. Nawangwe. Prof. Nawangwe presented souvenirs to all the members of the delegation at the meeting.

The Vice Chancellor underscored that the University exists to transform communities through identification of development challenges and coming up with tangible solutions. In line with national and global challenges, Makerere University will continue to work with partners to provide solutions to the following challenges: Rapid population growth, Youth unemployment, Climate Change, Food Insecurity, Emerging Diseases, and Conflict.

As Makerere University continues to celebrate 100 years of existence, Prof. Nawangwe emphasized that engagement of the academia to find solutions to the problems affecting communities is one of the best approaches that has enabled Makerere University to remain relevant. To qualify this statement, Prof. Nawangwe mentioned that Makerere University is one of the leading research institutions on HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Makerere University is credited for its role in the development of the Nevirapine drug that prevents mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS as well as breakthroughs in research in Tuberculosis and Malaria. To address the transportation challenge, the staff and students of Makerere University working with other partners came up with the electric vehicle innovation (Kiira EV) that provided a vision for the development of the Kayoola Electric Vehicle under the Kiira Motors Corporation. Working with the local sector, Makerere University staff and students developed the first indigenous diesel engine made fully from local materials. He also mentioned the strides in crop improvement namely sweet potatoes, tomatoes, soybean, sorghum, millet, and among others that are drought resistant and high yielding. He revealed that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of Uganda funded Makerere University staff and researchers who came up with research outputs and innovations to curb the spread of Covid-19.

President Judge Hon. Kayobera present Rules of the East Africa Court of Justice to Prof. Nawangwe

Responding to the Vice Chancellor’s presentation, Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera applauded Makerere University for not only offering education, but also solving problems affecting society through conducting research and innovations. Hon. Justice Kayobera congratulated Makerere University upon its centennial celebrations. He was pleased to note that the East African Court of Justice was celebrating its 21st anniversary at Makerere University-a renowned alma mater for notable alumni across the globe.

“Today, 30th November 2022 is an extraordinary day. Today is the 21st anniversary of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and the East African Community (EAC). We are honoured to celebrate our anniversary at Makerere University as this great institution continues to celebrate 100 years of existence. As we celebrate 21 years, we have dedicated 40 days of practicing Justice in Uganda, hosting joint conferences, delivering judgements, visiting partners and celebrating with Makerere University,” he remarked.

Members of the delegation browse through Uganda Agus and Munno Newspapers at the University Library.

Noting that most of the members of the delegation were proud alumni of Makerere University, the President Judge Hon. Kayobera saluted the institution for its great contribution in legal training, capacity building and practice.

“We thank the University for giving unto us great Judges in the Court of Justice of the East Africa, because almost all of the judges in today’s delegation are alumni of the Makerere University School of Law,” he said.

The Judge President disclosed to the University Management that their visit to Uganda, is among the objectives of the EAC treaty, of implementing the principle of social justice and community engagement.

An exhibitor explains how an aquaculture farm monitoring system works to the delegation.

“We are demystifying the practice of Judges sitting in their chambers. So, apart from issuing judgements, do the judges interact with the communities?  This will not remove your independence,” he stated.

“The EACJ delegation has been in Uganda 26th October 2022. We are integrating the community. We are using facilities of our colleagues in Uganda, their boardrooms and chambers. The staff from EACJ are here, we have visited places and we are dealing with cases. We are focused on ensuring human dignity in the chambers,” he said.

Giving a vote of thanks, Prof. Anthony Mugagga Muwagga, Principal of Makerere University College of Education and External Studies (Mak CEES) appreciated the delegation coming up with the idea of engaging the academia in promoting justice and the rule of law.

After an informative engagement with the University Management, the Vice Chancellor led the delegation to exhibition stalls where university staff and students showcased research outputs and innovations under the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF).

The delegation toured Makerere University Library with particular interest in the Law Section. The University Librarian, Dr. Helen Byamugisha highlighted the central role of the University Library in teaching, learning and research.

Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Prof. Henry Alinaitwe speaking at a meeting where the delegation interacted with students at the School of Law.

The delegation then moved to Makerere University School of Law to interact with the leadership, staff and students. The Ag. Principal-School of Law, Dr. Ronald Naluwairo received the delegation accompanied by the Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Prof. Henry Alinaitwe.

Commenting on the visit of the delegation from the East African Court of Justice to Makerere University, Dr. Zahara Nampewo, the Ag. Deputy Principal of the School of Law who moderated the proceedings at the several places that the delegation visited said: “The interaction with the different stakeholders at Makerere University reminds us that we all have a cardinal duty to promote the rule of law.”

List of research and innovations showcased by Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) at the exhibition:

Further Reporting by the School of Law: High Level Delegation from East African Court of Justice visit Mak School of Law

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Law Students Advised to Make the Right Choices and Work Hard

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Some of the First Year Students of the Bachelor of Laws 2022/23 attending orientation on 20th October 2022, Makerere Universty.

The Makerere University School of Law (SoL) held the Orientation Meeting for its First Year Students, Academic Year 2022/2023 on the 20th October 2022; Ms. Sarah Langa Siu, Chief Registrar – Courts of Judicature was the Guest of Honour.

Ms. Langa welcomed the freshers to the prestigious and honourable profession. She advised the students to make the right choices and work hard for the best grades during their time at University. ‘Campus is a buffet with a lot to offer, make the best choices. Remember every choice has a consequence and your choice today will impact your tomorrow’, she said. She highlighted a number of dos and donts which the students should take note of.Some of the points mentioned were: good role models and mentors; avoiding free things; minding the dress code and indecent dressing; quick money and deals, students using fees as capital; positive brand of self; vision and value addition.

Ms. Sarah Langa Siu, Chief Registrar – Courts of Judicature.
Ms. Sarah Langa Siu, Chief Registrar – Courts of Judicature.

The Chief Registrar added that ‘there is a long life ahead of you and don’t act like the world is ending, that everything has to be enjoyed within the 4 years of university’. Quoting the Bible Ecclesiastes 11:9, Ms. Langa told the students to enjoy their youth but to remember that God will judge them. She implored the students to work hard, be patient, be resilient and have a positive attitude, ‘the major reason you are at Makerere is to study and make sure you leave with a good degree class not a pass’ she said.

Staff welcomed the students to the SoL and gave them tips on how to use their time while at University.

In his remarks, Dr. Ronald Naluwairo (Associate Professor), Deputy Principal –SoL welcomed the students to Makerere University and the School of Law. He also conveyed a warm welcome from the Principal, Professor Christopher Mbazira who is away on official leave.

Dr. Ronald Naluwairo (Associate Professor), Deputy Principal – SoL.
Dr. Ronald Naluwairo (Associate Professor), Deputy Principal – SoL.

Dr. Naluwairo congratulated the students on joining a top law school in the country and region, he advised that the best teachers and resources are available and there is no reason for them to fail. ‘If you want the best results, don’t relax, concentrate on your studies and consult faculty and administration when you have challenges. We are here to ensure that you succeed’ he added. The Deputy Principal reminded the students that SoL and Makerere University have a zero tolerance policy to sexual harassment as well as examination malpractice and irregularities. ‘We wish you the best as you embark on this journey’ he said.

Mr. Ernest Kalibbala, SoL.
Mr. Ernest Kalibbala, SoL.

Mr. Ernest Kalibbala, Lecturer – SoL also welcomed the students to the School and Makerere University. ‘You are the cream de la cream; the cream rises to the top, doesn’t sink to the bottom. Grades are important in determining your professional journey, therefore study hard and start now’, he told the students. Mr. Kalibbala further advised the students that you may feel overwhelmed at times but keep focused, be agile and work hard for the best results.

Dr. Kakungulu Mayambala (Associate Professor).
Dr. Kakungulu Mayambala (Associate Professor).

Dr. Kakungulu Mayambala (Associate Professor) also welcomed the students to SoL. ‘Set aside time for self-study, at least 4hours per day. Avoid the following problem areas: early marriages, alcoholism, late night movements, political activism, excessive prayer activities. Find a balance, otherwise your studies will be affected’ Dr. Kakungulu Mayambala advised the students.

Administrative staff spoke to the students highlighting the services available and where to access assistance. Mr. Abigaba Vincent, College Registrar – SoL and Ms. Hellen Mirembe, Examination Officer – SoL explained to the students the registration and examinationsprocesses. Both officers advised the students to read the joining instructions booklet carefully and to avoid circumstances that may lead to suspension or expulsion from university such as examination malpractice to which others have been culprits.

Ms. Caroline Abilat and Ms. Evelyn Harona represented the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming and Department of Guidance and Counselling respectively. Ms. Abilat talked to the students about the University Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy and the scholarships available. Ms. Harona advised the students to take care of their mental health and to seek help when they experience challenges.

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