damages

Police officers cannot escape responsibility for rights abuse by citing ‘higher orders’ – Ugandan court

A judge of Uganda's high court has ruled that individual members of the police and other security forces may not rely on 'higher orders' or claims that they were waiting for orders 'from above', to justify human rights violations. Judge Margaret Mutonyi ordered significant damages as compensation to a number of applicants after she found police had abused their rights. In one of the two applications she dealt with, a number of people were unlawfully arrested and detained for participating in a legal protest against the raising of Uganda's presidential age limit.

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It would be difficult to overstate the potential importance of a case just decided by the High Court in Uganda. More than a dozen applicants went to court against a number of police officers and the Attorney-General. Originally two separate matters, the applications were joined by the High Court judge presiding, Margaret Mutonyi, who said they raised similar issues.

Zim judge gives stunning human rights decision in transgender case

A member of Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has just delivered a landmark decision in a case heard while he was still a member of the high court in Bulawayo. It concerns a transgender Zimbabwean subjected to appalling infringements of her constitutional rights at the hands of the police and a high profile member of the ruling ZANU-PF's Youth League. Although she has now been awarded damages by the court, she has already left the country after claiming asylum in the USA on the grounds of Zimbabwe’s shocking treatment of LGBTI people.

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Ever since he took office as a member of Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court, Justice Francis Bere’s professional life has been something of a roller-coaster.

Justice for these elderly folk – 21 years later

Well over 20 years ago the Kampala municipal authorities retrenched a group of long-serving workers. But they were not paid their full termination benefits. For more than two decades the group has been fighting to get the money to which they are entitled. They were ultimately awarded a certain sum plus damages by the high court in 2015 but they appealed, saying it was far too little. Now Uganda's Court of Appeal has given its decision on the matter. Would the judges find the pensioners ought to have been better compensated after 21 years of poverty? 

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Sometimes the courts have a chance to make a really significant difference in the lives of ordinary people. For three judges of Uganda’s Court of Appeal one of those moments came in a recent case concerning 22 elderly people.

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