EXPOSING THE LOOPHOLES IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM OF UGANDA
By Grace Birungi.
Defilement cases are on the rise in Uganda despite the presence of laws. The report indicates that a total of 14,134 cases of Defilements were reported to Police compared to 13,613 cases reported in 2019, giving an increase of 3.8%. Of the cases of Defilement reported in 2020, 10,413 were defilement while 3,721 were Aggravated Defilement.
A total of 5,058 cases were still under investigations. 5,943 suspects of defilement were arrested and charged to Court, out of whom, 845 were convicted while 4,907 were still awaiting trial in the period under review.
Against this background, the African Institute for Investigative journalism embarked on an investigation for close to six months on a story of a 13-year-old girl who was defiled by her father but didn’t get the justice she deserved. After all the investigations, a documentary titled “Defiled by my father” was launched on the 7 th October 2021 online to reveal what happened.
The launch was graced by the Danish ambassador, Nicolas. A. Hejberg Peterson, the mother of the victim Nakawesi, her brother, and some journalists from different media houses who came at the institute to watch the documentary.
The 1-hour documentary is a quest for justice story of a desperate mother seeking justice for her 13- year-old girl, who was allegedly defiled by her father and didn’t get justice because the victim was released even with clear evidence available.
It takes a deep dive into the sexual assault cases in the country and why very many people who commit such atrocities sometimes never make it to court. The documentary highlights how people at the grass root level never get justice because of the syndicated corruption along the justice system.
The corruption starts from the first part of the justice journey which is, the investigations level. If the investigations officer is corrupted, they will put up a weak report that they submit to the Directorate of Public Prosecution and therefore the director will not find enough evidence to prosecute the case, this mounts to the closure of the case and the criminal released from police.
Many of these sexual assault cases don’t make it up to court because the perpetrators of these crimes bribe the police officers and therefore, this investigation is supposed to be impactful and start conversations around access to justice and highlight corruption along the justice value chain.