Geoffrey Owundo the Kasese Resident State Attorney-RSA says the district is registering high rates of GBV cases that have stretched the court’s limited personnel.
URN.The special gender-based violence (SGBV) High Court session in Kasese District has concluded hearing 55 cases.
Of these 37 were aggravated defilement with victims below 17 years. The 16-days session saw 40 perpetrators convicted, one suspect acquitted and one other referred for mental examination. 10 cases were dismissed due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
The special sexual and gender-based violence court sessions aim to increase access to justice for victims and survivors of violence.
Asiimwe Zainabu the Probation and Social Welfare Officer Kasese District says the statistics on sexual and gender-based violence in the district is alarming for the last two years. She attributed the increase to the covid-19 lockdown.
She adds that they are concerned about the sharp rise in defilement cases noting that these cases might be much high than what the district has recorded.
Zainabu also adds that most of the sexually abused victims have been defiled by their own parents and close relatives with very little chance of getting justice.
Cue out: …their biological parents.”//
Geoffrey Owundo the Kasese Resident State Attorney says the district is registering high rates of GBV cases that have stretched the court’s limited personnel.
Owundo however points out that the disappearance of complainants, the closeness of offenders to the victims, delayed justice, poverty, and lack of witnesses have affected the dispensing justice to the victims.
Phiona Birungi the psychological support coordinator at International Justice Mission-IJM says they have been facilitating the justice actors and key stakeholders in dispensing of justice to expeditiously disposal of cases in a gender-responsive and victim-friendly manner.
She says that once all players work together it will create trust among the population and more convictions will see the end of GBV.
Ismail Kaawo the Rwenzori East Police Public Relations Officer agrees that the community has not fully appreciated the role of police in ending GBV and related cases. He says police is committed to enhancing information sharing between litigants, judges, attorneys, victims, and community members to ensure victims of violence get justice.
Elisha Bwambale from Kyabarungera Sub County whose 6-years-old daughter was defiled says he nearly lost the case due to the absence of enough evidence before the court.
However, IJM helped him to reconstruct the statements from the witnesses and made medical examinations that led to the conviction of the suspect.