Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo being welcomed at Mbarara Prison after opening a scientific court of appeal session.


By Goodluck Musinguzi

Uganda’s courts of laws are using technology to remain relevant after coronavirus pandemic shut down all activities including courts.

Courts must break from the attitude that the judicial institutions and legal cultures shaped thousands of years ago will continue to work like before.

More than ever, court users need judicial institutions that are effective, cheap and secure, regardless of the city or country in which they operate.

The Acting Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has assured Ugandans on the use of technology to reduce on case backlog that were made worse after coronavirus forced the country to shut down.

“We should have come here earlier this year but because of this corona virus, all activities were stopped including court activities…,” he said.

He said this on Tuesday as he opened up a Court of Appeal criminal session at Mbarara High Court circuit.

The Session, which will handle 40 appeals, will be handled by Justices, Elizabeth Musoke, Stephen Musota and Remmy Kasule.

Before the Session could begin, the Ag Chief Justice and panel of Justices in the session went to Mbarara Prison where they sensitized the appellants.

Justice Dollo explained that the session had delayed to kick off because of the Covid-19 pandemic which had paralyzed operations of all government organs, including Judiciary.

“We should have come here earlier this year but because of this corona virus, all activities were stopped including court activities…,” he said.

Adding, that due to the number of cases at the Court they decided to hold a scientific session. “We cannot hold normal court sessions because the rules of safety do not allow, so we decided to apply technology where you will not go in court in town but you will still be in court.”

He reassured the appellants to trust the system as it will be as it is in the normal court session even though judges and appellants sit in different locations.

He explained that in the circumstances, this was the only viable option.

Justice Elizabeth Musoke urged the appellants to cooperate in order to get the justice they deserve. “We are here now and with your cooperation, we shall accomplish a lot and catch up with the lost time,” she said.

Justice Remmy Kasule said other than sit and wait in Kampala, they decided to bring the court experience to Mbarara because no one can ascertain when Covid-19 would end.

Justice Stephen Musota advised the convicts to get used to the system because that is where the country is heading to until when Covid-19 vaccine is found.

He added, “what we are doing is not isolating you but the situation demands that we do that. You are advised to take advantage of your contact with the advocate so that you raise any issues, seek all clarifications you seek to have so that at the end of it all you are
satisfied with the outcome.’’

Some appellants, however, came in with their own submissions saying their lawyers had not consulted them.

The scientific session is the first of its kind at the Court of Appeal.

About Goodluck Musinguzi

Born on 12th March 1979 in Kabale district, South Western Uganda near the Rwanda and Eastern Congo Borders. Started Journalism around 1999, the Kibwetere inferno was a turn around. Entatsi newspaper and Monitor FM were interested in my stories. I covered extensively the Amama Mbabazi-Garuga Musinguzi Parliamentary elections extensively for Monitor Newspaper,Monitor FM, Voice of Kigezi and Entatsi Newspaper. Later I worked with Uganda Radio Network. Newvision gave me opportunity to cover War in Eastern Congo. Did investigation stories. Am now the Chief Executive Officer Kigezi News Agency Limited, we publish for a number of websites in Uganda.

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One comment

  1. It’s so interesting but the problem is the internet of Uganda which is on and off. We are ready to embrace the new system.

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