Uganda Judiciary on partial freeze due to COVID-19

EYEAFRICA TV: Kampala, Uganda: On Thursday, the chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe issued a statement ordering for the shutdown of courts that meant suspension of all court sessions except for cases that can be handled electronically and matters of urgency.

The clampdown of courtrooms comes in respect to the presidential directive as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that has for the last four months brought the global economies to their knees.

Following the presidential directive of the immediate suspension of all public gatherings, the judiciary followed suit on Thursday by going into partial freeze as a preventive measure against the spread of Coronavirus.

Effective this Friday, all court sessions that attract more than five court users have been put on hold with an exception for only matters that the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP) finds serious.

During the 30 day Coronavirus lock down, judicial officers have been advised to concentrate on writing judgments and carrying out research.

Cognizant of the fact that justice delayed is justice denied, Uganda Law Society’s President Simon Peter Kinobe is in support of the move saying suspension of the inherent rights is allowed in situations of innavitability.

In an exclusive interview with UBC, Kinobe had no kind words for brains that feel Uganda is rushing into a panic mode yet no single case has been reported. However, Kinobe registers fears with the economic effects of the suspension saying most advocates survive on litigation.

Aware of the fact that the judiciary has arrangements to handle some matters electronically, Kinobe appeals to fellow advocates to employ flexible work patterns though he is quick to point out on failures of the e-system .

It is against this background that the ULS president has faulted government for failure to establish a control or a crisis board whose main role would be advising on how best the economy can avoid inflation.

That withstanding, the ULS has called for continued sensitization of masses on the coronavirus prevention mechanisms for desired results. It is important to note that already the judiciary had started on the enrollment of courts on the electronic system as a means of checking on case backlog.

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