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PARENTS IN GULU ACCUSED OF FRUSTRATING INVESTIGATIONS OF DEFILEMENT CASES

By Romeo Okot Lil

GULU: Judiciary have warned parents who are practicing the dowry negotiation exchange on defilement cases from offenders saying they are frustrating the investigations which is against the law of Uganda.

This was sounded recently during the open day activities to access and compliment on delivery justices organized by the office of the Judiciary High Court Circuit Gulu branch.

The activity’s theme was improving access to justices by simplifying court process and addressing cases of sexual gender bases violence {SGBV} which have over powered the judicial system.

Ntalo Nasulu Hussein, the Deputy Registrar Gulu said the Aswa region has challenges of the pending cases and backlogs cases to hear noting that improving on the access to justices by simplifying court process would bridge justice near Gulu and address the problems of court delayed cases.

Nasulu however explained that over 2,323 cases were stacked pending waiting for judgement and over 830 were backlogs cases.

”Most of the cases reported are sexual gender based violence. Some vulnerable people would run for negotiation and settle for dowry exchange because of delayed court judgement,” he said.

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Damalie Nashua, the Aswah Regional Police Commander disclosed that last year they recorded 936 SGBV cases standing at 90% in the region.

Last year, Uganda registered over 16,000 cases of SGBV.  Nashua says SGBV has become the biggest problem hitting the region yet there are inadequate judges to handle the cases in time.

Nashua added that those who are taken to court last was 450 and for those who are already convicted was 103 making only 10% of the conviction meaning 27 cases, this year from January up to June they managed to register over 382, but only 223 was taken to court, conviction was only 20 cases making 05% of the total numbers of cases reported.

Nashua however condemned late reporting of cases in line with the SGBV which made some cases lack enough evidence to present to court it had investigated such matters, added such will have led to compromise of the cases among the offender and the victim in the exchange of money informed of dowry.

According to Uganda Law Society Counsel Okidi Walter Ladwaa, judiciary are facing the challenges from locals community promoting plea bargain over defilement and Rape issued demanding for the exchange of money for compensation saying it is against the laws of Uganda.

This has caused panic on handling the cases of  gender SGBV, defilement, Rape among others which is a common crime, says only cultural reconciliation on the cases like murder, manslaughter is to be allowed to site for the reconciliation among the two client of offender and victim for the plea bargain.

Okidi condemned some non-government organizations in Padre district for promoting GBV in the community where they tend to spread wrong information to the people.

The Gulu District LCV Chairperson Christopher Opiyo Ateke highlighted shortage of Judges in this region to speed up the judgment of cases.

”Gulu has no chief magistrate and the resident state Attorney judge, cases are referred to Gulu City yet the poor cannot afford transport to meet the cost of court this led to delay of hearing,” he noted.

He also criticized some unprofessional lawyers who are in charge of making money from poor people thus neglecting their duty, something he said should be investigated and brought to the law.

Meanwhile Okello George, the Resident Judge Gulu High Court disclosed that with two Resident Judges introduced in Acholi sub region, will address the challenge of delayed or pending judgement and backlog cases in the region.

He appealed to all Government officials to use their power according to the laws of this country not to complicate matters used and follow the norms, right of the locals.

Okello also advised the locals to report matters to those officials who are not performing their duties.

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