Witness Protection Legislation in Uganda: What you need to know.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

About the Proposed Witness Protection Legislation

The Uganda Law Reform Commission, within the sector objectives of the Justice Law and Order Sector, conducted a study on development of legislation to provide for witness protection in the Country’s justice system. Legislative recommendations have been made to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Legislative processes are ongoing to ensure that Uganda gets a specific piece of legislation to provide for witness protection.

Who is a Witness?

A witness may be defined to mean a person who has information or evidence in relation to proceedings (investigation, trial, inquiry or procedure) and has willingly agreed to provide that information or evidence or make   a statement or has already provided that information or evidence or made the statement.

What is Witness Protection?

Witness protection is protection of a threatened witness, in the justice system during judicial proceedings (which may be an investigation, trial, inquiry or a proceeding of a civil nature), usually by the police. While a witness may require protection until the conclusion of proceedings, other witnesses may be provided with new identity and may leave under protection for the rest of their lives.

Witness protection may be physical or psychological. Physical protective measures may include fast tracking  of trials, police escorts, security in court rooms, voice distortion,  screening  prisoner  visitors,  use  of  two   way identification mirrors and witness relocation and concealment of physical appearance.

Psychological protective measures may include stabilisation of a witness’ psychological situation, keeping witness fully appraised of what to expect in court, provision of counsellors and making available specific waiting rooms for witnesses in courtrooms to avoid witnesses being confronted by the accused or the accused person’s associates.

For more information about this bill,  See more under the Witness Protection Legislation