With the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic, many countries have opted to implement either full scale or partial lockdowns in an effort to control the spread of the virus. The case of access to the Ugandan justice system is no different from the rest of the world, as even before the confirmation of any COVID-19 cases in the country, the general population was being advised to follow a number of recommended WHO safety precautions, which include self-isolation and social distancing. The above measures invariably affected the general day-to-day functioning of court activities.
Women bear a disproportionate brunt of health crises, environmental disasters and gender-based violence. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 global pandemic could follow this pattern-having devastating implications for women's access to justice. What are courts and governments doing to address these challenges? As the pandemic unfolds, heads of judiciaries are constantly weighing options in order to make the best decisions.
The terrible time we are living in with the coronavirus pandemic poses arduous challenges for those who work in the judicial system. The worldwide extent of the Covid-19 crisis has confronted us, again in our history, with the eternal fragility of humanity.
The International Association of Judges (IAJ) represents associations of 92 countries from five continents. The global dimension of our organization implies a particular obligation to reiterate the grave duties of judges in relation to this pandemic.
Judicial immunity has always been a highly relevant issue for judges around the world. In recent years, however, judicial immunity has become an even more crucial, even existential , question for judges in many countries .
Under the rule of law, a fair system of appeals must be installed to ensure that judicial decisions can be challenged by anyone who might be negatively affected by them. This purports to rectify mistakes as much as possible. On the other hand, judges must be able to make their decisions without fear of being sued or prosecuted. While it is generally accepted that there are limitations to the concept of judicial immunity, such as willful breaches of the law or human rights violations, judicial immunity is an indispensable pillar of judicial independence.
Judging from the eager interactions of so many judges and judicial experts gathered under one roof in Doha last week, the importance and appeal of UNODC's Global Judicial Integrity Network, launched in Vienna in 2018, continues to grow. During a three-day high-level meeting held under the patronage of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, Chief Justices and senior judges from around the world debated the hottest judicial integrity-related topics affecting their remits, and the myriad challenges facing judiciaries in their quest to apply justice.