Access to Justice

The Story Access to Justice is published under the theme/series What does Equality Mean to Us? LGBTI Ugandans Speak out for Equality. Click the theme for similar stories

Human Rights standards and the constitution of Uganda provide for equality under the law- the right to be heard, a fair trial, and access to justice. The Justice system in Uganda, while seemingly structured to be in service to all citizens seeking Justice is riddled with a biased interpretation of the law. “Public interest” in most cases takes precedence over proper interpretation of the law where LGBT rights related cases are concerned.

There have only been at least three positive ruling on cases related to LGBT rights- In Victor Mukasa v. Yvonne Ooyo the Judge of the High Court of Uganda ruled that the Government had violated the rights of Ms. Victor Juliet Mukasa and Ms. Yvonne Oyoo, and declared that Ugandan constitutional rights apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people regardless of whether they are homosexual or transgender.

Access to Justice

The second one was the Rollingstone case which states that '..while In considering whether the Rolling Stone’s publication of alleged homosexuals’ names, addresses and preferred social hang-outs constituted a violation of the applicant’s constitutional rights, the court ruled that….its about fundamental rights and freedoms…' The judgment continued by reinforcing the right to human dignity, the right to fair trial.

The third one is the positive ruling on August 1st where the Constitutional Court of Uganda overturned the Anti homosexuality law of 2014 on legal technicality. All these positive rulings  indicate a sound Judicial system, but compared to the cases that have been lost, the judgements that didnot reflect the substantial human rights arguments in the cases, the attitude of judges, influence by the executive, the mistreatment of LGBT people in the criminal justice system, as well as the issues concerning access to justice and legal representation-there is still a long way to go.

 

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