Documentation & Trial-observations of Sexual Minorities Cases

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The Abuse of Rights of Sexual Minorities in Uganda's Criminal Justice SystemUGANDA: “Where Do We Go for Justice?”

The Abuse of the Rights of Sexual Minorities in Uganda’s Criminal Justice System

KAMPALA, UGANDA – On February 27th 2015, Chapter Four Uganda, a civil rights organization launched a report titled, "Where Do We Go for Justice?”.

The report documented chilling cases of abuse of the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda’s criminal justice system because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report was informed by a 3-month research conducted by Chapter Four Uganda with financial support from the Canada Fund For Local Initiatives (CFLI) under the project, “Documentation & trial-observations of Sexual Minorities cases”.

Timeline & scope of the research

The research was conducted in the months of December 2014 and February 2015. The research focused on cases reported in the districts of Buikwe (Lugazi township), Entebbe, Kampala and Mbarara.

The report focuses on the real life experiences of individuals, who have gone through the criminal justice system on accusation of homosexuality.

It focuses on the actions of criminal justice actors; the people, who on a day-to-day basis conduct investigations, hear cases and examine suspected homosexuals. It also focuses on the lawyers who defend or prosecute cases related to sexual minorities. 

Methodology

The research was primarily based on secondary and primary sources obtained during the research period.

Chapter Four Uganda traced, obtained and reviewed volumes of documents including police statements, police files, court files, charge sheets, medical examination reports, and media reports relating to sexual minorities between the years 2012-2015. In all, 11 police files and 10 court files were obtained.

The research further benefited from one-on-one interviews where at least 21 individuals arrested on allegations of homosexuality, 2 medical doctors, as police officers, and 11 civil society activists were involved. These interviews were conducted in-person, via telephone, email, or Skype.

Chapter Four Uganda shared the summary of the findings of the research with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for information and any clarifications.

List of chilling violations documented in the report
  1. Intrusive non-consensual and inhumane anal examinations.
  2. Inhumane medical examinations without prior counseling and consent.
  3. Refusal to investigate cases reported by persons of different sexual orientation and gender identity.
  4. In-cell abuse of sexual minorities.
  5. Media parading of LGBTI victims in the face of increased risks in the society.
  6. Difficulty to access court bail and police bond.
  7. Use of criminal charges for extortions and blackmail.
  8. Arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention.
  9. Institutionalized homophobia in the criminal justice system.
  10. Unfair trials of sexual minorities.