The eighth edition of the annual Legal Aid Week will focus on the conclusion of 5 per cent of Gacaca court verdicts yet to be executed.
The drive starts next week in Gisagara District, marking the beginning of the legal aid activities countrywide.
More than a million Gacaca judgements were executed in ways that Justice minister Johnston Busingye said promotes reconciliation in the community.
However, according to a report on Gacaca judgment execution on property after last year’s legal aid week, among 66,411 cases that remained, 11,631 were solved while 56,508 remain.
Busingye said this during legal aid preparatory conference that ran under the theme: “Affording legal aid services to the vulnerable is about maintaining integrity rule of law.”
- Busingye (L) speaks to journalists during the meeting.
The conference attracted legal aid service providers, development partners, members of the civil society, among others.
The conference was organised by Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Legal Aid Forum in partnership with the European Union, Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, The Netherlands, among others.
The minister commended the work done during Legal Aid Week that helped many indigent citizens who would have been locked out of justice.
Participants reflected on the achievements of the Legal Aid Week in the last seven years and discussed ways to improve legal aid service delivery.
During the annual week, legal services are given to vulnerable people such as juveniles, inmates and detainees, the elderly and the ill.
Services provided during the week include free legal representation, legal advice and assistance, rights awareness and human rights education.
- Participants follow proceedings at the meeting. (photos by Teddy Kamanzi) The activities will be carried out by legal aid service providers, leaders, among others, at the district and sector levels.
Proposed compensation law
Meanwhile, it has been established that some compensators are unable to pay what they are supposed to. Minister Busingye revealed that a new compensation law is being drafted as a result
According to the proposed law, such compensators will be required to do public works and their wages be given to those who are owed.
The draft law will be taken to parliament in coming days.
Legal Aid Week is credited with helping vulnerable people have access to justice.
Among the achievements of Legal Aid Week – since its inauguration in July 2009 – include the reduction of cases of minors in conflict with the law from more than 500 in 2009 to only seven this year.
More than 90,000 citizens have also been assisted in different categories during Legal Aid Week.