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Establishment of special courts may help tackle gender based violence
As the fight against sexual and gender-based violence gains prominence, ministers and policymakers from 12 countries in the Great Lakes region are meeting in Kampala to establish how existing laws and policies can be strengthened and implemented.

As the fight against sexual and gender-based violence gains prominence, ministers and policymakers from 12 countries in the Great Lakes region are meeting in Kampala to establish how existing laws and policies can be strengthened and implemented.

 

The establishment of special courts by member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region as an instrument to help tackle sexual and gender-based violence was one of the recommendations at the going regional conference on strategies for implementation of policy instruments on sexual and gender-based violence in the great lakes region.

The ministers and policy-makers from12 countries are meeting in Kampala to discuss ways of effecting and implementing the laws and policies against sexual and gender-based violence as recommended by previous meetings.

Different stakeholders including the Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda, Chief Justices, Army and Police Chiefs from member states, observed that some instruments like the establishment of special courts to deal with gender-based violence had been agreed upon in principle but few countries had gone ahead with implementation.

Various instruments were put in place six years ago in some countries, but there has been a laxity of domesticating the laws, which has made it hard to tackle sexual and gender-based violence.

Nathan Byamukama, the acting Director of the ICGLR Regional Training Facility, says one way of reducing cases of sexual and gender-based violence is to put in place programs to rehabilitate those convicted of sexual crimes to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders once they are released.

Brigadier Irvine Ayitey Aryeetey, a representative of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO, says they still face challenges protecting people against sexual and gender violence in conflict areas.

The three-day high-level meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region was launched by Henry Okello Oryem, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs.