Uganda

Judicial independence infringed when Uganda's Chief Justice has to 'plead' for funds - constitutional court

Uganda’s constitutional court has found that the independence of the country’s judiciary is in jeopardy because of the way the budget of this arm of government is handled. In one of its most significant decisions under the present constitution, the court said the system made the judiciary very much the junior branch in the three arms of government, and often reduced the Chief Justice ‘to pleading for funds from the executive’.

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In this landmark case the Uganda law society made an alarming claim: the country’s executive and legislature had failed to help the judicial arm of government take its rightful place under the constitution. In doing so, they undermined the independence of the judiciary.

Dispute over sitting Ugandan judges appointed to head prosecution arm

Is a sitting judge allowed to take a job as head of his or her country’s prosecution services? And if a court finds that it was unconstitutional for the judge to accept the second position, what is the status of the judge’s decisions as a prosecutor? These, and difficult, related questions, have been raised in Uganda, where a series of judges have been appointed to other government jobs, without first resigning from the bench.

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Supreme Court judge's sensational claims against Chief Justice

What was meant to be the end of a high-profile political case intended to challenge the outcome of Uganda’s national elections earlier this year turned into something even more astonishing late this week: a senior member of the country’s Supreme Court claimed that Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo had tried to gag her and stop her reading her minority decision in the matter until he had vetted her ruling.

This week saw an unparalleled drama play out in Uganda’s supreme court. Now, lawyers and members of the public are waiting for clarification by the country’s new Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, the jurist who followed former Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, after having been appointed seven months ago.  

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