KAMPALA – Legal experts have called for government support and constitutional recognition of the informal justice system, given its critical role in the justice system.
At an engagement held at Hotel Africana, Dr. Sylvia Mukasa, ED, Legal Aid Service Providers Network – LASPNET said that much as a formal justice system is needed, the informal is much more needed because most people prefer it due to its convenience but also truthful.
“We already know what the informal justice system does but we know that it also has it strains and therefore, it needs the complementarity of one of the most prestigious systems because it speaks to the community aspiration norms.”
“First of all, it is according to the customs and norms of the people brings back unity and reintegrate the person who would have offended the community back into the community because they will either have a public apology to the people they’ve offended, guided by the leaders or those that are resolving the disputes whether they are religious or traditional,” said Ms. Mukasa.
She noted that this system is less technical given the fact that the language that is used is local.
She noted that although these courts cannot handle capital-related matters, they can handle those minor offenses of family disputes, and cases of customary land ownership, which in turn would reduce the clogging in the justice system.
The Country Director – International Development Law Organization, Ms- Barbara Kilei said “The formal justice focuses on rights but the Informal Justice System focuses on the interest of people. This is why we need to compliment the two systems.”
“The formal justice focuses on rights but the Informal Justice System focuses on the interest of people. This is why we need to compliment the two systems,” she added.
Mr. Christopher Bwaniika Attorney General Buganda Kingdom says that there has been a challenge of financial constraints in terms of operational costs like stationery, transport during grassroot investigations as well as the remuneration of committee members of the Kooti ya Kisekwa.
Mr. Lokwiya Francis, the Community Head Acholi Peace Initiative sharing his understanding of the Ker Kwaro Justice System in Acholi notes that “Our Justice System doesn’t tolerate impunity. We don’t tolerate capital punishments.”
Ms. Theo Webale – Board Chairperson World Voice and Founder Member LASPNET Uganda says, “Conflicts are being managed in a timely manner in the informal systems because people are informed with the norms and the cultural systems.”
In his remarks, Chief Guest Norbert Mao – Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs says “The main advantage of informal justice systems is, there are no case backlogs. Each case that comes up is dealt with the main aim of having outcomes”
“Acknowledging a robust system which is being built to ensure that his office works to have a legislative framework and listen to proposals from the public.”