The Court of Appeal in Gulu has started the hearing of 30 criminal cases at Gulu High court in Gulu city.
The session started on Monday and is expected to run until Thursday, March 30. The Court’s criminal session is being presided over by a panel of three judges including justice Egonda Ntende, lady justices; Catherine Bamugemereire and Irene Mulyangonja.
The cases include 16 murders, 4 robberies, 6 defilements, 2 rapes, 1 manslaughter, and 1 threatening violence. Some of them are long overdue dating back to 2009. While officially opening the session, the deputy chief justice Richard Buteera said that the judicial system is battling with a shortage of staff.
He assured all that the processes will be transparent since all court documents dating back to the years were safely kept and will be easily traced to ensure justice is served.
“A lot has been said about the hindrance and delay of trial. One is a shortage of personnel, and we look forward to increasing the number of judicial officers and courts,” said Buteera.
He added that the judiciary seeks to increase support staff to ease the staff shortages that it is currently battling. One of the presiding judges, justice Ntende urged judicial officers to embrace the use of the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECCMIS) to ease their work.
Gulu High court resident judge, Philip Odoki said that the court of appeal session will relieve them of the case backlog.
“Majority of the civil cases are land related and majority of the criminal cases are sexual and gender-based,” he said.
Justice Odoki also requested the judiciary to establish permanent accommodation for court staff noting that it is currently a challenge.
He added that the court is taking advantage of plea bargain and has managed to dispose off over 100 cases.
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