Breaking

Courts Incapable of Enforcing Human Rights –Law Don

According to Dr Tusasirwe, the courts were initially not designed as rights enforcement mechanisms but as instruments of law and order and regulation of transactions such as business, land and marriage among others. He argues that in their current state, courts look at enforcement of rights as a secondary role.
Dr. Benson Tusasirwe, a human rights law don Makerere University

Audio 4

Makerere University Law Don Dr Benson Tusasirwe says that courts in Uganda are structurally and institutionally incapable of enforcing human rights enshrined in the laws of Uganda.   

According to Dr Tusasirwe, the courts were initially not designed as rights enforcement mechanisms but as instruments of law and order and regulation of transactions such as business, land and marriage among others.  He argues that in their current state, courts look at enforcement of rights as a secondary role.  

This is part of the findings in his five-year research; “The Judicial enforcement of the rights to freedom of Political Assembly and Association in Uganda.”  In the study, leading to his law PhD, Dr Tusasirwe investigated the state of political assembly and association in Uganda and the role that courts have played in their enforcement.   

“You go to Court complaining about rights, they deal with it in a mechanical manner as a law and order question. If you’re arrested, they don’t look at the fact that you are arrested while demonstrating yet demonstrating is a right. They see you as a criminal, a rioter, and not someone enforcing his rights which are enshrined in the Constitution,” he states.   

Dr Tusasirwe says the rights of freedom of assembly and demonstration under-write other rights because they are a means to obtain the rest of the rights and freedoms.  He argues that while courts of judicature have sometimes made bold decisions in defence of the rights, their decisions have not gone far enough.     

//Cue in; “Freedom of political…  

Cue out… rights are enjoyed.”//     

He adds that in the absence of a fundamental change in the political and socio-economic order, Courts will continue making pronouncements but will not credibly act as consistent guardians of the rights.   

Dr Tusasirwe recommends among others training of judicial officers to further appreciate their role in the advancement of these rights, elimination of corruption, and elimination of case backlog which delays and frustrates justice.   

//Cue in; “By the nature of the state…  

Cue out…and assert them.”//   

  On the practice of human rights litigation, Dr Tusasirwe says Uganda has few lawyers devoted to defending human rights and that many run away from it because it is not economically viable.  He says that in addition to meagre financial benefits, oftentimes, the human rights lawyers are treated as criminals and at times meet the wrath of state apparatus and the public in their defence for the rights.   

//Cue in; “By the time…  

Cue out…their work is commendable.”//   

Dr Tusasirwe is the only PhD graduand from the school of law for Makerere University’s 70th graduation, that concluded recently. Although under normal circumstances he should have completed his PhD in four years, he says it took him five years to conclude the research.