Deputy Speaker calls for special court for environmental crimes

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah with some Gov’t officials

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has called for special court to handle environmental crimes and called for specific training for prosecutors and Police investigators in handling the related crimes.

Oulanyah advised the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and other stakeholders in the environmental sector to design the special training programme and recommended the establishment of a special division to handle environmental crime.

“The special training and special court will enable the Police and prosecutors handle the environmental crimes competently and expeditiously because they will be familiar with the terminology used,” said Oulanyah.

Uganda has set up the Anti- Corruption Court as a special court to handle corruption related cases and considered establishing a court to handle cases of gender based violence.

Oulanyah made the remarks while officiating at the Regional Forum for the Police and Prosecutors on Environmental Crime at Imperial Resort Beach, Entebbe on Monday, 22nd January 2018.

The Forum is held under the theme, “Greening Police and Prosecutor Education Programmes in Africa.”

It is intended to support countries integrate course elements on environmental crime in the training of police and prosecutors as part of their curricula and work.

The Deputy Speaker pledged to ensure that the law to operationalise the independence of the office of the DPP is passed.

“I have learnt that the law to implement the independence of the DPP is somewhere, when it is brought to Parliament, it will be passed expeditiously,” said Oulanyah.

The DPP, Mike Chibita reiterated the need to enhance the capacity of prosecutors and Police officers to investigate and prosecute environment crimes saying that the existing course unit in Environmental Law and Policy taught in Makerere University is theoretical has a narrow scope.

“The skills gap in Environmental Criminal Law and Investigation can be traced to the omission of this important subject in a significant way from the curriculum of Makerere University, Law Development Centre and Police training schools,” said Chibita.

In her remarks, the Director Law Division, UN Environment, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said that it has become imperative to partner with Police, prosecutors and training institutions to develop a sustainable programme on environmental crime.

“The partnership will enable Africa to create a pool of trainers on environmental crime and increase cooperation among Police, prosecutors and prosecutorial sectors on environment crime,” said Mrema.

The three day event is being hosted by Uganda and is being attended by 23 African countries.

The President of the Africa Prosecutors Association (APA), who is also the Attorney General of Angola, Dr. Helder Fernando called on African Prosecutors and Police investigators to set up legal and judicial corporations to improve on ways of fighting environmental crimes.  He reiterated that fighting of environmental crime is a priority of their association.

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