PIC: Deputy Cheif Justice Alfonse ownyi-Dollo arriving at Fort Portal High Court on Monday (Wilson Asiimwe)
FORT PORTAL - The Court of Appeal criminal session has opened up at the Fort Portal High Court in bid to clear the case backlog in the Rwenzori region.
To achieve this, the Government has lined up three judges of the Court of Appeal criminal sessions for the Fort Portal circuit.
The Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owinyi-Dollo, while addressing stakeholders at the Fort Portal High Court on Monday said the sessions that start on February 5, will run in a series until March.
The Court of Appeal judges; Elizabeth Musoke, Kenneth Kakuru and Egonda Ntende will be stationed at Fort Portal for 30 days.
“In a bid to reduce the case backlog at the Court of Appeal, we are holding regional sessions, as well as sensitising the people on the criminal justice system of Uganda,” Owinyi-Dollo said.
While responding to people’s concerns on the detention of the former prime minister of Toro Kingdom, John Sanyu Katuramu, at Luzira Maximum Prison, Owinyi-Dollo said the Supreme Court had upheld Katuramu’s death sentence and he was at the mercy of the President.
“As Judiciary, we played our role and Katuramu exhausted all the appeals so the sentence was upheld, but the President can release him if he wishes,” Owinyi-Dollo explained.
Katuramu was convicted of murdering the Toro Kingdom prince, Happy Kijjanangoma and is on death row. A section of people in Toro have appealed to the President to forgive him, however, the President can only act on the recommendation of the prerogative of mercy committee.
During the sessions, over 55 criminal appeals will be reviewed at the Fort Portal High Court circuit.
Tadeo Asiimwe, the Court of Appeal registrar, said plans are underway to decentralise the Court of Appeal if the President appoints more judges on the bench.
“In the spirit of bringing justice to people, we holding quarterly sessions, but we also have plans to have regional Courts of Appeal,” Asiimwe said.
“For the next 30 days the judges of the court of appeal are shifting their chambers to Fort Portal from Kampala to hear cases of murder, defilement, robbery and others,” Asiimwe added.
He said such sessions will help reduce the backlog in the circuits to zero. There has been massive outcry over a huge backlog of cases, largely attributed to the few Judges.