The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) will in the month of August under its Tribunal function conduct a series of hearing sessions countrywide for a total of 121 cases of human rights complaints. The entire August tribunal session is scheduled to run for three weeks starting on Monday August 5th and end on Tuesday August 20th at the UHRC regional offices of Gulu, Masaka, Soroti, Arua, Fort Portal Jinja, and Kampala (Central Regional Office).
According to the recently released Cause List issued by Dorcus Musiimenta the Acting Registrar to the Commission, only four out of the 121 cases are against individuals; one case is against a private entity the Sanyu Babies’ Home while the rest of the cases to be handled in the said period are against the Attorney General (Government), statutory companies like Uganda Electricity Distribution Company (UEDCL) and Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA).
Complaints to be heard by the UHRC tribunals in August involving individuals are that of Shamim Jaffer Vs Byaruhanga Isaac, and Marighan Ratib Vs Taban Amin and the single case involving a private entity of Milly Nakibuka Vs Sanyu Babies Home; all of which have been listed for hearing before Commissioner Dr. Patricia Okiria. The Presiding Commissioner will handle the cases mentioned above during the last week of the session which she is scheduled to conduct on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th August 2019 at the UHRC Central Regional Office in Kampala. The other two cases against individuals namely the one of Kijjambu Willy Vs Sergent Abias Muyambi and that of Luswata Joseph Vs Kabagambe Malik & Suubi Erik will be heard by Commissioner Victoria Rusoke on Thursday August 15, 2019 at the UHRC Masaka Regional Office.
The UHRC Tribunal hearings in August will be presided over by all the four Commissioners who will be cris-crossing the country to different UHRC regional offices in order to fulfill this Constitutional mandate. Tribunal hearings that are scheduled to be conducted in the first week sessions of Monday August 5th and Tuesday 6th August, 2019 will be presided over by Commissioners Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba at Soroti; Meddie B. Mulumba at Arua; Victoria Rusoke Businge at Central in Kampala and Dr. Patricia Achan – Okiria at Gulu UHRC Regional offices respectively.
Tribunal hearings during the second week of the August session will be held on Wednesday August 14 and Thursday 15th August, 2019. The Tribunal sittings will again be presided over by the four UHRC Commissioners namely Dr. Katebalirwe who will be stationed in Jinja; Meddie Mulumba in Central, Kampala and Victoria Rusoke in Masaka as well as Dr. Achan in Fort Portal UHRC regional offices respectively.
The third and last tribunal hearing leg in this session will run from Monday August 19th to Tuesday 20th August, 2019 and will see Dr. Katebalirwe handle tribunal hearings in Gulu, Commissioner Mulumba handle the ones in Soroti, Ms. Rusoke preside over the ones in Fort Portal and Commissioner Dr. Achan hear tribunal hearings in Central( Kampala) Regional Offices respectively.
The Commission, currently headed by the Chairperson Mr. Med S.K Kaggwa, has a Constitutional mandate to conduct tribunal hearings under Section 52(1) (a) and section 53 (1) and (2) which give UHRC powers to investigate complaints of human rights violations and order compensation or any other legal remedy or redress where it is satisfied that the victim’s rights were indeed violated. In exercise of mandate, the commission has powers of a Court to summon anyone and can commit anyone, found in contempt of its orders, to a civil prison.
In order to implement its Constitutional mandate the Commission receives funding from the Government of Uganda’s consolidated fund which is also supplemented with funding from the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOs) and development partners mainly under the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). The Commission also receives financial support from other bi lateral arrangements such as the ones with the GIZ and other development partners. The DGF is a basket fund contributed to by embassies in Uganda namely that of Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, Sweden and the European Union. “All the cases to be handled by the UHRC Tribunal in this upcoming session of August will be funded under the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) support to UHRC,” the Commission’s Registrar revealed.