Judiciary, police trade blames over delayed justice
The Judiciary has signalled the police for delaying access to justice in the country.
The Deputy Chief Justice Dr John Gatwech Lul accused the police of often delaying cases by detaining individuals and failing to conduct investigations promptly as required.
“This is a question which can be answered not only by the Judiciary because the Judiciary is not the one that arrests people and detains them especially when we talk about criminal cases.
“It starts with the police and the prosecutors, and, if they have not finished the investigation, we have no way to come in,” Gatwech stressed.
He was speaking at a round table discussion with stakeholders to build a strategic partnership to facilitate access to justice for internally displaced persons.
The two days discussion was organised by the government in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
However, the Police spokesperson Maj Gen. Daniel Justin dismissed the statement, saying the delay in the justice process is not caused by the police.
He said the police often work under the supervision of the Attorney General who evaluates all cases investigated by the police before sending them to court.
However, Maj Gen. Justin admitted that the process always takes time due to the investigation especially in cases where the suspect escapes either from the police cells or the prison.
“With the case, the system of the court does not mean that we are just to file every case to court anyhow because at the investigation level if there is not enough evidence then the attorney general has the right by later to cancel the case.”
The police spokesperson said sometimes they face difficulties in investigating suspects who were arrested from the states over car theft and armed robbery and escaped from the town.
Maj. Gen Justin argued that the police normally takes a lot of time to investigate cases to establish concrete evidence so that when the suspects are taken to court and the attorney general may not dismiss them.
“We don’t delay just for the sake of delaying or anything because we are not working alone, we are working with the attorney general.
“The attorney general is the one supervising all the investigations so if there is any delay, it is the attorney general, not the police. It should be the attorney general because he is the one in charge of the investigations and the cases to be taken to court,” he stressed.
“This is a joint work between police, the attorney general, and the court but for us, we forward cases when we have accurate evidence that we have gathered such that suspect faces the law,” he added.
However, Gatwech was defensive towards the judiciary saying the arm of government only comes in when the police and the prosecutor fulfil their work and make recommendations for the trial of the case.
He said sometimes the delay of the case in the court may be due to shortage of judges, inadequate salary, and lack of facilities such as courtrooms and court centres for the judges to sit.
Gatwech pledged their commitment and readiness to provide justice to anyone who feels his or her right has been violated.
He urged the public to feel free to approach the institution for justice.