ULS condemns govt interference with judiciary independence

Justice Law and Order
ULS condemns govt interference with judiciary independence
Minister Mao and Oundo

The President of Uganda Law Society (ULS), Bernard Oundo, has denounced what he termed as "unlawful interference" by the government in the administration of justice.

Oundo's remarks come in response to a March 19 communication from the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Nobert Mao, which allegedly meddled with due process in a high-profile civil suit.

The contentious communication, addressed to the Principal Judge, purportedly directed the acting Inspector General of Police to reinstate Francis Ishanga to a disputed property, contrary to an existing court order.

Oundo emphasised the gravity of this action, labeling it a clear violation of Article 128 of the Constitution of Uganda, 1995, which safeguards the independence of the judiciary.

"In the exercise of judicial power, the courts shall be independent and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority," said Oundo in a statement, underscoring the constitutional provision.

Oundo stressed the importance of upholding court orders until they are lawfully varied or set aside, regardless of their perceived correctness.

"The law of the land mandates that a court order once issued must be obeyed," he reiterated, emphasizing the principle of adherence to judicial decisions.

He further cautioned against the implementation of the minister's directive, urging aggrieved parties to pursue legal remedies within the established framework.

He reaffirmed the judiciary's constitutional duty to operate independently, free from external influence or coercion, in interpreting and applying the law.

"The judiciary should continue to make judicial decisions based solely on the law and evidence presented before them," stated Oundo, emphasizing the judiciary's role in upholding public trust and ensuring justice.

Oundo urged the judiciary to reject any attempts at interference, emphasizing the importance of maintaining judicial independence for the proper functioning of the legal system.

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