By Lalam Gloria
The inmates at Gulu Central Prison are pleading for speedy trials, as many of them have been on remand for so long awaiting their trials to commence.
Daniel Bagonza, the head of all the male inmates, during an interface with a team of senior judicial officials led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe at the prison facility petitioned the chief justice. Bagoza said, “A number of issues are yet to be addressed pertaining judiciary and prisoners. We still have many remandees staying without being taken to court especially those committed to high court”.
The Director of Correctional Services, Uganda Prisons, Samuel Akena confirmed that congestion is in all the country’s prisons facilities and something has to be done. “Any step towards the reduction in the number of people who are on pre-trial is a welcome move”, he said.
The Chief Justice Bart Katureebe called upon inmates to be patience with the court processes because the government is not capable of financing the institution fully due to financial constraints. He said, “Sometimes government does not have all the resources to give us what we need to do what we should do. So we have looked for alternative methods of administering justice”.
Katureebe pointed out the collaboration with other partners to enhance speedy trials. “The International Justice Mission has been helping us in various aspects like land grabbing, gender-based violence in Refugee Law Project and so we are grateful to these partners who are coming in the task of administering justice”.
He advised inmates to serve their sentence with remorse as they prepare to be reintegrated in their communities. Katureebe said Judicial Service Commission is recruiting new judges and promised to send two judges to Gulu High Court Circuit once they have been committed to the system. Out of 1,398 inmates 886 are on remand, and 512 are convicts at Gulu Central Prison. End