KAMPALA – Judges of the High Court are holding a three-day symposium geared at preparing them on the management of election petitions when they arise out of the January 14 General Elections.
The Symposium was flagged off by the Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, who delivered remarks on behalf of the Chief Justice at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.
The Chief Justice pointed out that world over, election petitions and other related matters occupy a unique position in the docket of the courts. Adding that, “The matters of contention in election petitions affect thousands, if not millions of the citizens of the country.
These include the candidates, their supporters and interested citizens. “The global community, especially the trading partners and those with strategic interests will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of the elections.”
He reminded the Judges that although the attention is now focused on the Independent Electoral Commission, after January 14, it will be the Courts on the spot.
“The lawyers and their clients expect the best quality judgments from us. We therefore need to adequately prepare for the hearing and determination of election petitions,” the Chief Justice said.
He urged the participants to grasp tips on how to handle evidence in general but in particular, witnesses whose evidence may deliberately exaggerate the allegations.
Court of Appeal Justice, Stephen Musota, delivered a presentation on the Law and Evaluation of Evidence in Election Petitions.
He urged their lordships not to reacquaint themselves with the law of evidence.
High Court Judges handle election petitions of Members of Parliament and LCV chairpersons. They equally handle appeals from decisions of Chief Magistrates’ Courts in recounting votes and decisions for Councillors.
Justice Damalie N. Lwanga, the Executive Director of the Judicial Training Institute said they found it prudent for Judges of the High Court to meet and share experiences on election petitions.
She added that similar activities have been organized for Justices of Appeal as well as Registrars.
The Judges are being tipped on Reception of Electronic and Digital Forensic Evidence in Election Petitions; The Role of the High Court in Election Matters arising from Magistrates’ Courts as well as Stress Management among others.
The facilitators include senior Judicial Officers as well as senior counsel who have participated in previous election petitions.