Whistle Blowers’ Tips on the Rot at the International Crimes Division, High Court of Uganda, Republic of Uganda*
Team from Northern Uganda Media Club NUMEC also were dubbed to signed open document and ICD media personal run away without clearing them.
GULU CITY JANUARY 18, 2024
To: H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, The President of the Republic of Uganda, Fountain of Honour & Chairman High Command of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF)*
*c.c. The Right Hon. Chief Justice, Head of Judiciary, Republic of Uganda*.
*c.c. The Principal Judge, Republic of Uganda*.
*c.c. The Right Hon. Speaker, Parliament of Uganda*
*c.c. The Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs, Republic of Uganda*.
*c.c. Attorney General Republic of Uganda*
*c.c. Rwot Richard Santo Apire, Paramount Chief Ker Kwaro Acoli*.
*c.c. The Chairman, Acoli Parliamentary group who happens to be the Area Member Of Parliament for Kilak North where Pabbo is*.
*c.c. The Member of Parliament for Kilak South, where Lamogi Sub County is*.
Written by a team of concerned Citizens with insights from the affected parties; most especially the victims of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) in the areas of Lamogi and Pabbo in present day Amuru District.
The International Crimes Division of The High Court of the Republic of Uganda (ICD/HCU) is, ostensibly, modelled after the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) before which indicted ex-LRA Commander, Dominic Ongwen was arraigned, convicted and is meant to serve his terms, unless something radical of a procedural nature emerges.
It is believed that the LRA supremo, Joseph Kony (J.K), will also likely be dragged along, except in absentia.
The ICD/HCU has been trying Thomas Kwoyelo, a.k.a _Latoni_, a born of Pabbo SubCounty, Amuru District, for the last (nearly) 5 years at the HC in Gulu.
It was highly anticipated that this trial; the 1st before the ICD/HCU, would be a test case that would inform & establish key jurisprudence in the Ugandan Legal system.
But this seems not to be. The trial, or rather its processes (technical & operational) is clouded by intrigues, manipulation, sexuality, God-fatherism and most crucially insensitivity to the poor victims. It has not spared the staff of the ICD (in a case of an ogre feeding on its own children).
First, in time frame: the legal justification notwithstanding, the Court has adopted the syndrome of shaving the head of the Ogre: by the time you finish one side of the head, the other (already shaved) one has grown back to full bushiness. Efficiency & urgency has never been in the vocabulary of this Court. A cynic is forgiven for thinking the foot dragging is intended, perhaps for some pecuniary interests to those who holds the lever of power. Though in fairness to the Court or its Administration, money has allegedly not been approved, in good time or the budget has often not been met by Government as required.
But even where the little money is availed, millions of shillings are being ‘accounted for’ by the technical heads in the person(s) of The Registrar, through their accounting (paying Clerks), with others as by-standers.
The turn over of Registrars over the period of trial thus far has been 5 to 6; with allegations of others being called back due to gross incompetence, gross fraud, failure to give in to God Fathers up the food chain, failure to play ball or of overstepping some red line(s).This in management terms speaks to the health, or otherwise, of the institution in question, but by the fact that these things obtain in the Temple of Justice is not good for any country.
At the Center of this trial was meant to be victims: those directly & indirectly affected by the atrocities of war crimes & crimes against humanity and the people in whose name the Court has been sitting, and the budgetary votes have been passed, and/or are passed.
The victims have NEVER been anywhere in this trial, apart from a few scattered showers. The victims can speak for themselves, given the audience, His. Excellency.
(a). They are not given regular feedbacks at the beginning and at the end of each session as in the protocols of the Court. This Outreach clinics must have been budgeted for. If they are budgeted for where has the funds been diverted to? If they are not budgeted for then who slept on his/her job? And with what ramifications?
In the rare event that the victim communities are visited the victims have to track kilometers, or miles, from where they have resettled after the war. The refreshment of choice for them have been those withery biscuits and those _kamini_ sodas as the Legal orligarchs live large, with reckless abandon.
The most tragic drama played in December 18 2023.Like a whirlwind, the Kampala team went to Gulu in what was most likely an accountability circus, a week to Christmas, with anything in the range of USD 5,000 ‘spent’!
Tragically, the victims from Pabbo & Lamogi could not even be facilitated through their designated representatives to come & be part of the activity of the day. In the case of the ICC ( the ICD is not the ICC!) local centers like Lamogi sub county Headquarters or the Town Council Headquarters in Lamogi & Pabbo respectively, would host live broad casts requiring merely the LCD projector, a screen, some standby generator in case of power outage and some light refreshments, knowing the circumstances under which the victims & the local communities live; and some two or four technical personnel to man it. Whether it is fear or lack of commitment or fraud, this has never been done; not even once!
*The purpose of this memo, His Excellency and those on c.c. is to blow the whistle, and shine the torch on the Judiciary generally, and the ICD/HCU specifically*.
If my beloved President is keen on not only fighting corruption, but to be seen to do so, the starting point is in The Judiciary, and the ICD/HCU.
The staff are willing, and ready to speak, in confidence. The Registrars who have been tossed up and down, talked to in confidence, will give you deep insights into the saga at the ICD/HCU. Locally based opinion leaders and the victims in Acoli can also tell you what has been obtaining, in their names.
Many victims are dying, many more are living highly depressive lives; with bullet shrapnels in their bodies, fistula in their bodies and burn scars that do not allow then to work in the sun, and yet their livelihood is eking out a living through peasant Agriculture, with apparently no one to turn to and nowhere to turn.Isnt this double, even triple, jeopardy? Are these not Ugandans with an obligation on the Nation-State to care about? With the taxes they contribute, even in their conditions?
Even Thomas Kwoyelo as the accused, whatever the legal rationale, has more than served his term in incarceration even before the pronouncement of guilt is made. I know the circumstances of his abduction as a mere teenager or less, may come in mitigation, after the verdict is announced. But there needs to be movement, in the right direction & at the right pace so that Thomas Kwoyelo either gets locked up (minus the unprecented time on remand) or he is found innocent, and released. Afterall the Acoli Traditional Justice system has elaborate procedures to deal with such a case.
*Mr. President, Your Excellency Sir, there are huge weevils in that bean called the Judiciary. Kindly send the Anti-Corruption team based at State House, the seat of power to investigate and determine the issues at the ICD*.
Part of the Terms of Reference would include:-
1. Why Registrars don’t serve full terms. A talk with the past & present Registrar will unveil a story from the underworld.
2. Why the victims are not central to this trial?
3. An inventory of the moneys released in the names of the Trial and a forensic audit of their use & accountability.
It is reported that the Court officials are made to sign payment vouchers without writing the amounts of money allegedly received. This, as any accountant will tell you, His Excellency, violates the GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).
Since we cannot access your office, Sir, and to present to you the bitterness this issue has engendered, kindly follow up on this issue using the Independent institutions at your disposal and thank me afterwards; for salvaging the image of an institution that has suffered a lot of abuse and created a lot of acrimony & bitterness, behind your back because ultimately the buck stops with you!
We hope each of the persons, copied shall have ocassion to get this message since we hope it gets viral. We have protected our identities for obvious reason. But should there be any avenue to address you face to face, we will more than be ready to meet you and engage with you for we believe that it is true many things go wrong, apparently under your watch,but because the people who should do their work have abandoned it for what they should not to; and are doing what they should not do or be doing.
Awadifo, Apwoyo matek, Eyalama Noi, Apwo Atek, Webale Nyo nyo Taata.