Friday, 07 July 2017 00:00

THE 2ND JOAN KAGEZI MEMORIAL LECTURE

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The 2nd Joan Kagezi memorial lecture was held on the 13th of April 2017 at Hotel Africana, Nile Hall, Kampala under the theme “Addressing Challenges in the investigation and prosecution of cases sexual violence in conflict situations”

 

The lecture was presented by Mr. William Narus, Resident Legal Advisor of the United States Department of Justice.

 

The Annual Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture was inaugurated in 2016 by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in commemoration of the contribution made by the Late Joan Kagezi (Ag. Asst. DPP) to the delivery of criminal Justice in Uganda. At the time of her death on 30th of March 2015, she was the Head of the International Crimes Department, which among others, was responsible for cases of sexual violence in conflict situations.

 

One of the cases that the Department was handling at the time was that of Uganda versus Kwoyelo Thomas Alias Latoni who is currently indicted before the International Crimes Division of the High Court for War crimes and crimes against humanity. The crimes occurred within the context of an armed conflict in Northern Uganda between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and the Government of the Republic of Uganda between the years 1987 to about 2006. The accused was a Senior Commander in the LRA under the overall leadership of Joseph Kony, and was one of the LRA Commanders who was responsible for the attacks which took place in Kilak County, now Amuru District.

 

During the conflict in Northern Uganda, sexual violence was one of the weapons of war used particularly against women and children. In the course of investigations in the Kwoyelo case, evidence was secured that supported the offenses of Procuration of unlawful carnal knowledge, inhumane treatment and rape. The indictment against Kwoyelo was amended to include six counts of SGBV, which had not featured on the initial charge sheet. The focus had been on investigating and prosecuting the cases of murder, kidnap with intent to murder, causing serious injury to body etc. under the Geneva Conventions Act and the Penal Code Act.

 

Apart from the Kwoyelo case, there are other investigations into similar cases and expected prosecutions resulting therefrom.

 

Without doubt, the capacity of law enforcement agencies and other State organs to detect and adequately respond to these cases needs to be enhanced.

 

Problem statement:

 

It has been realized that although there is glaring evidence that cases of sexual violence were rampart during the Northern Uganda conflict, these are not adequately addressed either due to logistical challenges hampering evidence collection or other unique challenges encountered in handling these crimes and establishing their elements. Furthermore, the survivors of Sexual Violence often suffer acute physical and psychological trauma that require redress, else it has a destabilizing effect on the survivor and the community. There is also need to protect them from secondary trauma or victimization while encouraging their participation in the criminal justice processes. This is in spite of the shame, humiliation and stigma that may be associated with their circumstances. A safe system that protects and supports them once they have taken the decision to report the crimes committed against them must also be established.

 

 

 

 

Read 467 times Last modified on Friday, 28 July 2017 13:42
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