By Kampala Post Reporter
KAMPALA. The Principal Judge, Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine has said that Uganda is making good progress in fighting Gender Based Violence (GBV).
He said that in spite of the setbacks, the Judiciary is in the process of setting up specialised GBV courts adding, "Such courts are effective in that Judiciary staff who have specialised skills can be trained to be gender sensitive and can use innovative ways to expedite trials."
Dr. Bamwine made the remarks while delivering a keynote address at the second National Symposium on Justice for Women and Girls at Hotel Africana organised by Uganda Law Society on Thursday.
"As a country, we have laws and a clear strategy direction but the challenge is in implementation of the legal framework to create a conducive environment for women and girls to access justice more effectively and efficiently," he said.
He however noted with concern that there are delays in investigation, prosecution and adjudication of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) crimes.
"There are poor case handling methods, including exhibit mishandling, poor statement recording and other outdated evidence admission requirements such as trials before evidence of a child of tender years and confessionary statements can be made part of the record," he said.
He noted that a pilot project is already underway with 14 on-going sessions at different courts.
The Principal Judge said the results of this project, with support from United Nations Population Fund, will inform the next course of action.
He added that there was need to strengthen stakeholder engagement through offering support to District Chain-linked Committees (DCCs).
"We think strong DCCs have a big role to play in the fight against GBV through mobilisation of resources, ideas and even sensitisation of the populace,” he said.
The Uganda Law Society (ULS) President, Simon Peter Kinobe, called upon the State to enhance its responsibility in protecting the rights of women and the girl child.
He pledged ULS continued advocacy to ensure women and girls have access to justice.
UN Women Country representative Dr. Maxwell Hadatou pointed out that Uganda loses Shs77 billion every year due to violence and gender based crimes.