Examining access to criminal justice during public health emergencies in Uganda; A case study of Kampala Metropolitan Police Area
Andiandu, Patrick Micheal
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In October 1995 a new Constitution was promulgated in Uganda. It contained a comprehensive statement of the aspirations of the people of Uganda given their avowed intention to depart from the nasty experiences of the previous years. Chapter Four of the Constitution contains an elaborate statement of various rights inherent to the individual. However, since 1995 the protection, promotion, respect and realization of these rights has been mixed. In November 2019, what began as a seemingly localized flu like infectious disease in Wuhan, in the People's Republic of China, soon spread across nations and by March 2020, it had been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. In March 2020, a national lockdown was announced in Uganda. Given the uncertainties about the disease, the grave statistics on fatalities evident across the globe and the stretched medical facilities, the nationwide lockdown was inevitable. There was also no time to plan beforehand. Nations around the globe went into lockdown and dealt with the devasting effects of the novel Corona virus which is more commonly referred to as COVID-19. All life as was known before was affected. The Justice, Law and Order Sector which oversees, through various government departments and institutions the critical work of formal justice through Courts in Uganda was also affected by the lockdown. The Courts were no longer openly available to handle matters. Technology was not readily available to bridge the gap. During the period of lock down hundreds of Ugandans were arrested for various offences, including COVID-19 related violations. The management of the pandemic has provided an opportunity to assess the extent to which various rights enshrined in Chapter Four of the Constitution were affected during the management of the national lock down in 2020 with emphasis on the Kampala Metropolitan Police Area.