WORLD leaders and global institutions have joined politicians, statesmen and clergy from Uganda to pay tribute to Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi
By Innocent Anguyo
WORLD leaders and global institutions have joined politicians, statesmen and clergy from Uganda to pay tribute to Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi.
The International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) has strongly condemned the brutal murder of Kagezi.
ICTJ works to redress and prevent the most severe violations of human rights by confronting legacies of mass abuse.
The founding prosecutor of the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda, Kagezi's role in introducing best practices to advance the effective investigation and prosecution of international crimes has been recognised by UJCC.
"ICTJ pay tribute to Kagezi for her commitment to secure justice for victims of serious crimes," said David Tolbert, the President of ICTJ." "We condemn this horrendous crime and call on the government to review the protection afforded to justice officials handling such sensitive matters."
Following the civil wars and other internal conflicts in Uganda, the International Crimes Division was established in 2008 to try perpetrators of war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, terrorism and trafficking.
ICTJ notes that, as head of the Prosecutions Unit at the International Crimes Division, Kagezi introduced prosecutor-led investigations and included trauma counsellors as part of the investigations team.
"Kagezi was always willing to engage with civil society and the victims' representatives to explain the court process, provide updates on pending cases, and highlight the challenges faced," said Michael Otim, ICTJ's Head of Office in Kampala. "Her death represents an enormous loss."
ICTJ therefore beseeches Ugandan authorities to conduct effective investigation into the murder of Kagezi- and subsequently bring to justice the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
Keriako Tobiko, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Kenya said he was profoundly shocked and saddened to learn about the brutal execution of Kagezi by suspected Al-shabaab assailants.
Investigators process the crime scene in Kiwatule where Kagezi was gunned down. Photo by Roderick Ahimbazwe
"It is indeed a dark week for the administrators of justice in Uganda, the East African Region and the world at large following the murder of Kagezi," said Tobiko.
"Kagezi worked with the Kenyan and Tanzanian Law Enforcement Agencies at the initial stages of the investigations into the Kampala bombing of 2010 by Al-shabaab terrorists."
Describing Kagezi as a focused and passionate prosecutor, Tobiko said her demise underscores the need for governments to urgently look into the security of prosecutors, invigilators and judicial officers handling emerging and transnational organised crimes.
"The security of law enforce officers can no longer be taken for granted in the light of the upsurge in international organised crime that these officers have to deal with on daily basis," added Tobiko.
"This incident has the potential of emboldening other organised criminal gangs keen on slowing down prosecutions which could paralyse the criminal justice system. To avert this, it is time decisive action is taken to ensure adequate protection accorded to prosecutor, invigilators and judicial officers."
Clergy under their umbrella body, the Ugandan Joint Christian Council (UJCC) have also condemned the murder of Kagezi.
Tributes pour in from around the world for Kagezi