In March this year two of our projects in the Justice, Law, and Order sector (JLOS) in Uganda were suspended as a consequence of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014. The projects concerned are ’Consolidating capacity of the Law Development Centre (LDC) to undertake practical legal training’ and ‘Strengthening Forensic Expertise and Management of Scenes of Crime in the Justice, Law and Order Sector in Uganda’.
LDC is the sole Ugandan institute authorised to provide legal professional training to law graduates in order to prepare them for a career in the justice sector. The forensic themed project is implemented with three Ugandan partners: the Directorate Government Analytical Laboratories (DGAL), the Forensic Service Department of the Uganda Police Force, and the Pathology Department of Makerere University.
On 27 September CILC staff members Anna Demoed, Marja Lenssen and Adeline Tibakweitira undertook a one-week mission to Uganda to follow-up on the project interventions in the justice sector. The aim of the mission was to monitor and discuss developments in order to prepare annual reports which could serve as a benchmark for further interventions, should the Netherlands Government decide to re-open support to the justice sector in Uganda.
These projects have been important instances of CILC intervention in Sub-Saharan Africa, which dates back to 2007. They have laid a good foundation for our successful engagement in Uganda and the building of trust and confident relations with partners in the justice sector. While the suspension of the Netherlands support has been a significant setback for the Ugandan partners, it has not discouraged them from continuing with the implementation of project activities.
LDC has remained committed to bring change within the organisation. During our visit to LDC we were very pleased with the progress made at organisational level. The commitment of the management team to finalise the restructuring measures by December 2014 is worth noting as well.
DGAL has also continued implementing their project activities. The STARLIMS system, procured with financing of the project and JLOS, is currently being used, and all experts involved at the laboratory are trained how to use it by external consultants. The latest training took place during our visit.
In July this year, DGAL secured funding from the Swedish Embassy to further develop the Pesticides and Residue Division in order to obtain certification.
Besides meetings with the project teams, the mission also included visits to the JLOS secretariat, the Netherlands Embassy and the EU Delegation. These visits were a good opportunity to exchange views on the latest developments in the Netherlands and to gain a deeper understanding on the current situation in Uganda.