- All efforts should be made in creating an enabling practice environment that promotes the rule of law and the Independence of the Judiciary
- Lawyers play a key role as intermediaries between the justice system and justice seekers and their contribution is essential to make justice work for people in everyday life and ensure that their fundamental rights are respected.
The Uganda Law Society President Bernard Oundo has called upon the Judiciary and government to create an enabling environment of delivering justice to the people.
Oundo noted that although the judiciary and government have decentralized justice by creating more court circuits to bring services closer to the people, they need an enabling environment to meet the objectives of delivering a people centered government which addresses the needs of the seekers.
"All efforts should be made in creating an enabling practice environment that promotes the rule of law and the Independence of the Judiciary".Oundo.
He cited issues like robust bar bench relationship that allows the bar to speak out on matters related to the rule of law and administration of justice in Uganda.
He stated that lawyers play a key role as intermediaries between the justice system and justice seekers and their contribution is essential to make justice work for people in everyday life and ensure that their fundamental rights are respected.
Oundo cited the two orders that have been issued against them from holding any meeting to discuss any judicial matter that curtails their right to assemble and freedom of association.
He however said that even with such orders that have far reaching implications in regard to the mandate of the ULS, they will not boycott such functions but use the courts of law for redress.
" We were supposed to boycott this function but the judiciary invited a few people."
He said that this year they will concentrate on strengthening their bar forum in their administration of justice.
He reiterated the need for the respect of court orders of the people centered approach to justice is to succeed.
He criticized some Resident district commissioners who have taken it upon themselves to disrespect court orders saying that such acts compromise the integrity of the court system and the administration of justice as a whole.
"It's hard for my members to execute court orders.We ask that there is commitment that court orders will be respected and all entities outside the court system should ensure that when they receive a court order, their only obligation is to respect it."
He also cited the need for Impartiality without any external pressure saying the Independence and Impartiality of the Judiciary is the foundation if justice seekers are to respect the justice system.
"A justice seeker must have full confidence that he will state his case before a fair mindful judge and that judge will not be receiving phone calls or letters from anyone directing how a case should be judged"'
Oundo cited the letter dated 7th December 2023, that president Museveni wrote to the Chief justice giving instructions on a case in the court of Appeal.
" While the president has and is within his power to disagree with the court decision, we appeal that for the purposes for the Independence of the Judiciary,there should not be any sort of direction from the fountain of honor. "
According to Oundo,the president's letters erode public confidence in the judiciary and called upon all actors and arms of government to respect judicial independence.
He also called for an investigation into the missing persons allegations and illegal arrests and those responsible for the violation of such human rights be punished.