KAMPALA – The Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera said the International Crimes Division (ICD) has the potential to serve as a model for other countries that are seeking to pursue justice for international crimes in their national systems.
While delivering a keynote address on the Practice and Procedure for the Adjudication of International Crimes in Uganda during a Validation Workshop of the Judicial Bench book at the Judicial Training Institute on Friday, the DCJ said Kenya and South Sudan have already been in the country to understudy the ICD.
The DCJ added that the Court’s establishment gives hope to victims of serious crimes.
“Accountability for grave crimes is essential to building respect for the rule of Law and preventing cycles of violent conflicts that have characterised Uganda’s past,” he added.
He highlighted some of the challenges faced by ICD such as the complex nature of investigations, the award of blanket amnesties, the absence of victim and witness protection measures and lack of a legal framework to govern the participation of victims in the proceedings.
The DCJ, however, promised full support of Judiciary leadership to the ICD in the fulfillment of its critical mandate to deliver Justice to victims of international crime.
Justice Buteera commended the ICD and JTI for their key roles in the development of the Judicial Bench Book on practice and procedure for the adjudication of international Crimes.
The workshop, which was organized by JTI in partnership with Avocats Sans Frontiers(ASF) and the International centre for Transitional Justice(ICTJ), drew over 20 participants.
Justice Buteera welcomed the Bench Book saying it will help reduce the delay in handling matters before ICD.
“The adjudication of international crimes is still new in the country, and despite numerous trainings and support from various partners, we need long-term solutions. This Judicial Bench Book is, therefore, a welcome resource that will bolster the capacity of the International Crimes Division to deliver justice effectively. I believe this will go a long way in reducing the delays in these cases.”
The Executive Director of the Institute, Hon. Justice Damalie N. Lwanga, commended Rtd Justice Elizabeth Nahamya and the entire team for their efforts in the development of the the Bench Book.
Following Justice Nahamya’s presentation, it was agreed that the book be formally launched on a date to be communicated.
Judges; David K Wangutusi-the Head of International Crimes Division, Susan Okalany, Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa took part in the workshop. Dr Katja Kerchbaumer, from the Austrian Development Cooperation, Ms Irene Anying (coordinator of programs ASF) and Ms Sarah Kihika Kasande (Head of office ICTJ) were also in attendance.