Lawyers under their professional association, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) together with the Judiciary, have signed a pact as a sign of commitment to stamp out judicial corruption that has become cancerous.
Under this agreement, each individual lawyer and judicial officer affirms by signing onto the compact, not to engage in any corruption tendencies either directly or indirectly during the course of executing their judicial duties.
In summary, the compact signed last Friday reads: “Accordingly, I commit to taking necessary measures to prevent corruption practices impacting the Judiciary…..”
Speaking at the 1st Annual Law Conference in Entebbe on Friday, the president of the Uganda Law Society, Mr Francis Gimara observed that corruption is much more than anything, which severely undermines the rule of law, causing citizens to lose faith in the ability of government to assist them.
He added that the only hope for the citizens essentially is the Judiciary but which Judiciary is not corruption-free.
It’s against this background that the International Bar Association came up with a Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact Agreement that is expected to be signed by every lawyer and judicial officer as one of the initiatives of individually committing to fight corruption.
Mr Gimara said the lists of those judicial officers and lawyers who have signed and committed to fight corruption will be pinned on both their websites of the Judiciary and Law Society.
Uganda becomes the second country in Africa to sign onto this Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact Agreement to fight corruption after the West African country of Ghana. “By signing on this compact agreement, the Uganda Law Society together with the justices, judges and all judicial officers from the Courts of Judicature, collectively agree to become part of the army that will embark on the robust fight against corruption.” Said ULS president, Mr Gimara during the signing of the compact at Entebbe on Friday. He continued: “My Lord, the Chief Justice, this fight, the one thing we should never lose is hope. The hope that very soon we will collectively build a strong army of legal professionals with enough dosage in them to resist the vice of corruption.
Let us run this race to the finish line because the opportunity cost of not fighting corruption is terrible.”
Some of the highlights in the signed compact mandate every lawyer and judicial officer to reject any acts of bribery, reject any material intended to affect the outcome of justice, reject to facilitate any acts that undermine judicial independence including attempts of political, economic, social or any forms of interference in a judicial process.