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63 Cases Lined Up For Inaugural Court of Appeal Session In Gulu

The session due to hear 63 cases will commence on September 11th and end on October 6th at the Northern Uganda Court Circuit premises in Gulu Town. Some of the cases have been pending since 2004. Didas Muhumuza, the Assistant Registrar of the Court of Appeal, says a panel of three Judges will preside over the session. They are Justices Kenneth Kakuru, Fredrick Martin Stephen Egonda Ntende and Lady Justice Hellen A. Obura.
Gulu High Court Building.
The Court of Appeal is set to conduct its first regional sitting in Gulu High Court area  beginning next week.

The session due to hear 63 cases will commence on September 11th and end on October 6th at the Northern Uganda Court Circuit premises in Gulu Town. Some of the cases have been pending since 2004.    

Didas Muhumuza, the Assistant Registrar of the Court of Appeal, says a panel of three Judges will preside over the session. They are Justices Kenneth Kakuru, Fredrick Martin Stephen Egonda Ntende and Lady Justice Hellen A. Obura.

According to Muhumuza, the Judiciary hopes that holding the hearing in locus outside Kampala will bring services of the Court of Appeal closer to the people. He says hearing will commence at exactly 9:30AM on working days.

Muhumuza says the session will hear 33 murder appeal cases, five for rape, 19 for defilement, four aggravated robbery cases and single cases of criminal trespass and manslaughter respectively.

He says affidavits of the cases have been distributed to the concerned lawyers taking part in the session for familiarisation. He advised parties who lodged the appeals to assemble substantive evidences to support their cases.

It is still unclear how much money will be spent during the sitting of of the second highest court in the land, established by Article 134 of the 1995 Constitution. While presiding over matters, it is duly constituted when it consists of an odd number of not less than three Justices. 

It is this court that constitutes itself into a Constitutional Court in accordance with the Constitution to hear constitutional cases. 

It is the first time the Court of Appeal is holding a session in Gulu district. However, the Gulu Court premises is no stranger to high profile judicial proceedings. Last year, the premises hosted the International Crimes Division of the High Court for days as it conducted the Pretrial hearing of cases in which former Lord's Resistance Army commander, Thomas Kwoyelo, is domestically charged for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Kwoyelo faces 12 counts relating to crimes committed during a war that ravaged northern Uganda for over two decades. Prosecution alleges that as one of the mid-level commanders in the LRA, Kwoyelo planned, commanded and executed attacks committed against civilian populations in Northern Uganda.

The listed offenses include willful killing, extensive destruction of property, abduction, murder, kidnap and robbery which he partook prior to his capture in December 2008.

He is the first person to face trial in Uganda for crimes committed while fighting for the Lord's Resistance Army. The other is Dominic Ongwen whose trial is before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

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