- Many times, people have to sell their property to tender in complaints in court in quest to attain justice
- Nevertheless, higher judiciary has by and large enjoyed respect and retained the credibility of citizens
- Recently government introduced Plea Bargaining as a measure to reduce case backlogs in the courts and offer medication process for the parties in court
- The Judicial Service Commission has opened up a toll free line 0800100222/1 for people to register complaints against the errant judicial officers
Arua The continued widespread corruption scandals by judges and Magistrates in the country and inappropriate political interference in judicial systems are denying millions their right to a fair and impartial trial, the Chairperson Disciplinary Committee for Judicial Service Commission has said.
Speaking to the press at Desert Breeze on Tuesday, Norah Matovu Winyi, said that the lower courts are the most affected. She said magistrates should not receive bribes from litigants they are to protect. “We still have problems of wiping out the corruption scandals in the legal systems. And if we find you guilty, we can ask you (legal officer) to leave the service.”
The Judicial service commission recruits judicial officers, justices from Supreme, Court of Appeal and High Court. Their names are then submitted to the President for appointment. It also appoints the judicial officers from the lower courts and educates the public about justice delivery system
Court clerks also are bribed to direct cases to favorable judges. She warned that such acts will lead to termination of service of those found guilty of the offence.
She says this frustrates the poor not to access courts to seek justice. On several occasions, the judicial system in Uganda has been critiqued for entertaining corruption with judicial officials taking precedent in accepting bribes.
“We want to bridge the gap between public because many think that legal system is far from the ordinary person. So we can in to create a bridge that the judges and magistrates do not have the ultimate authority and power. So we need to harmonize that relationship so that the ordinary people understand the court process. Right now, we came with 100 files of complaints with one from Moyo district,” she said.
Deputy Registrar in the Directorate of Planning Research and Inspections, Samuel Kaali, said: “People should also seek mediation process because it offers opportunity for both parties agree on the case. It is a win to win process. We need to do more civic education because some of the civil cases can be completed through mediation.”
A member of Judicial Service Commission representing the Public, RoseMary Nyakikongoro, said: “Our government has not expanded the on recruitment of judicial officers yet there is high population. It is unfortunate that the population is interested in creation of more districts instead of demanding recruitment of judicial officers. One Magistrate cannot manage to dispense services in four districts alone.”