Focus on investigations not riots - Chief Justice tells Police

Tuesday June 12, 2018

Lack of capacity and inadequate funding continue to hinder evidence gathering in criminal investigations, which has contributed to a high number of unresolved cases and increasing case backlog in Uganda’s judicial system.

These were some of the challenges highlighted during a coordination workshop for officials from the Directorate of Public Prosecution and the Police Criminal Investigation Department, which was held today in Kampala.

Speaking at the workshop, Chief Justice Bart Katurebe advised police to invest more of its budget in improving its investigative capacity and less on suppressing riots.

Justice Katureebe also urged investigators and prosecutors to think of innovative ways of mitigating the challenges they face before the public loses trust in the system.

Recent figures show an increase in the number of cases registered, which also corresponds with an exponential increase in cases that remain unresolved.

In 2016, a total of 243,000 cases were reported, 60,462 were taken to court, there were 17,477 convictions and 32,344 are still pending in court. While in 2017, a total of 252,065 cases were reported, 66,626 were taken to court, there were 18,961 convictions while 36,633 are still pending in court.

In order to reduce the case backlog and improve on the rate of case resolution different alternatives like a reprieve for suspects, plea bargaining and use of synchronized automated systems to eliminate missing police files were suggested.

The Directorate of Public Prosecution currently employs 600 staff, which falls short of the required 1800.

This has also affected the rate at which the Directorate is able to handle the cases that are referred to it.