Women are not objects for sexual satisfaction but have equal rights like men, they have to be protected and not violated
The acquittal of sexual offenders due to poor case handling has angered an envoy and a judicial officer with both saying there is need to review judicial system.
Ambassador, Zachary Muburi-Muita and a Zambian chief resident magistrate, John Mbuzi pointed out that the released sexual offenders continue committing the same crime and that's why cases of sexual gender based violence continue unabated.
"Those released for lack of evidence return to repeat the same crime and we keep treating consequences not the cause,"this is unacceptable the irked Muburi -Muita said.
Muburi-Muita said poor case handling methods include exhibit mishandling, poor statement recording and outdated evidential admission requirements among others.
The Kenyan envoy to Great Lakes Region said the above lead to poor case outcomes for the victims.
He was addressing delegates during the regional symposium on best practices to combat sexual gender based violence (SGBV) in the Great Lakes Region at Speke Resort Munyoyo in Kampala.
The symposium was organised by International Conference on the Great Lakes Region(ICGR) and funded by World Bank aimed at sharing and exchanging information on best practices to combat sexual offences and violence against women and girls.
Muburi-Muita, also the executive secretary of ICGR faulted the criminal justice system response in handling gender based violence cases as required by international and regional adjudication instruments (Protocol of prevention and suppressing of SGBV).
"Perpetrators still escape prosecution and punishment for their crimes simply because the institutions are not effective and efficient in executing their mandate," he said.
He informed the delegates that in most of the countries in Great Lakes region, the majority of inmates in prisons are on sexual violence related crimes.
He emphasized the need to focus on rehabilitation of sexual offenders jailed rather than punishment as they become hardcore criminals without being reformed.
He was supported by the Zambian judicial officer, Mbuzi who said punishment of sexual offenders is no longer deterrent and therefore, the remedy should be rehabilitation of men.
"There should be emphasis on correction and not punishment. Being in prison is not deterrent," Mbuzi told delegates.
He added,"no matter how many people we punish, the focus should be on how we save more women and girls from being raped and defiled respectively."
He explained that rehabilitation of men can be carried out through sensitization by encouraging men to understand that women are equal partners for development.
‘Women are not objects for sexual satisfaction but have equal rights like men, they have to be protected and not violated.
The moment perception changes, there will be respect for women and girls," he said.
Ambassador Paul Mukumbya, who represented the permanent secretary of ministry of foreign affairs, Patrick Mugoya told the audience that Uganda was still grappling with problem of sexual gender based violence as 50% of prisoners are on sexual violence cases.
Nathan Byamukama, the regional director at Regional Training Facility on prevention and suppression of sexual gender based violence in the Great Lakes Region said the sexual offenders can be rehabilitated by providing psycho-social support.
The symposium attracted delegates from Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, DR Congo, African Union, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville and others.