By Lukayya Nakamanya
Uganda Judicial Officers have been encouraged to expeditiously handle cases involving refugees.
Esther Atim, from Makerere University School of Law, during a two day Judicial Officers’ training on Refugee Rights and Protection held at the Judicial Training Institute.
“Be mindful of their status in society and you could use your discretion and apply alternative means of sanction when handling refugee cases because of the dilemma surrounding their conflicts,” Atim said.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda, the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), JTI, and Refugee Law Project (RLP) funded the training.
The topics discussed included, Introduction to Forced Migration and Legal Frameworks on the Protection of refugees and asylum seekers, Understanding Human Trafficking, Understanding Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and Understanding Mental Health.
The Judicial Officers were also trained in Understanding Transitional Justice, all in the Context of Forced Migration, The Benefits and Risks of Using Media by Judicial Officers to Improve Justice and The Role of Judiciary in the Protection of Forced Migrants.
The Registrar of Research and Training, Tom Chemutai, while opening the training, said the training aimed at equipping Judicial Officers with knowledge and skills on the rules governing refugees so that they can satisfactorily handle cases.
He further encouraged the Judicial Officers to be cognizant of the background of the refugees and also be proactive when handling their cases because of their unique nature.
HW Chemutai also commended the Refugee Law Project and the Makerere University School of Law for partnering with JTI to ensure that the training was a success and further recommended that all judicial officers be trained in this field.
The Access to Justice Programme Manager RLP, Ms. Susan Alupo, said access to courts of law for forced migrants remains a challenge especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that it was found imperative that a training for Judicial Officers be held to discuss how to handle challenges that have presented with the pandemic.
The key facilitators at the training were Deputy Registrar (Training), Moses Gabriel Angualia, Ms. Devote Nuwe, Mr. Gabriel Ochieng, Mr. Akula Suubi, Ms. Solomon Awiidi, Mr. Gabriel Ochieng, and Ms. Martha Akello.