Residents of Amuru may have celebrated the creation of a new district for them in 2006, but four years later the celebration has turned into disillusionment.
New districts wer created to extend services closer to the people. However, to the residents of Amuru this has remained a lip service especially in the provision of justice.
Key justice departments like prison, the justice sector in Amuru is struggling to ensure that civil and criminal cases are handled, although usually at the premises of Gulu court, nearly seventy kilometers away.
As the old adage goes, justice delayed is justice denied, the residents of Amuru can only complain in bitterness.
Joseph Okeny, LC2 chairman of Otwee parish, Amuru town council says that it very costly for them to access justice. He explains that the absence of a fully functional justice sector in Amuru, the residents have to trek long distance to Gulu court.
Okeny explains that the absence of a reliable public transport along the Amuru-Gulu road further complicates the situation. He says that they experience difficulties when asked to present many witnesses or have to visit relatives who have been remanded to Gulu prison.
He says that sometimes, other suspects are convicted because witnesses who could support them have been unable to travel to court due to the cost implications.
It takes two hours to drive to Amuru while motorcycle taxis that are the most common transport along the route charge fifteen thousand shillings one way.
Okeny has appealed to government to ensure that they fasten the process to establish a fully functional justice system in the district. George Wakubona, the grade one magistrate who was recently deployed in Amuru district agrees with Okeny.
He says that the absence personnel, buildings and transport have made his work a nightmare. He explains that the newly constructed court in Amuru is largely underutilized because there is no prison to remand the suspects.
As a result, most of the suspects from Amuru have to be transported to Gulu court several kilometers away for trial and remand.
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The magistrate added that the court in Amuru would start sitting thrice every week and once in Gulu to hear cases of suspects who are remanded in Gulu prison in a bid to help make the justice service accessible to the residents. While the local population is complaining about the difficulty in accessing the service, the personnel deployed in the district are unhappy about the condition under which they live.
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Wakubona adds that the challenges of the justice sector in Amuru are compounded by the local council courts that handle land cases. He explains that most members of the local courts are not conversant with the law and often lack proper records making it difficult for the magistrate court to hear appeal.
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Land cases are rampant in the district with most of them often ending in violence. Joseph Omodo Nyanga, the Gulu chief magistrate says that each land conflict usually triggers off a multiplicity of other crimes most times including assault, trespass, murder and arson among others.
In 2007, a Peace and Recovery Development Plan, a government program intended to rehabilitate the region from years of war was launched with a budgeted 32 billion shillings to improve the Justice, Law and Order Sector but three years later, glaring gaps still exist.
shortage of resources