All Good Things
by Jay Milbrandt
Today was a good day here in Kampala. I spent most of the day with the team and in the courts. I started the morning by visiting our good friend Justice Kiryabwire at his office in the beautiful new Commercial Court Building. The facility is really a big step up. I got a wonderful update from him on the progress of our team, current projects, and the unfolding events of the week. It sounds like this year's team has been very well received by the court and they are working on many diverse and useful projects.
Following this visit, Justice K and I went over to the High Court building to visit some of the other judges. I met Justice Egonda and Principal Judge Ogoola. I had never met either in person, but both judges are very well known and respected—both here in Uganda and internationally. Justice Egonda is leaving his position in Uganda to become the Chief Justice of the Seychelles (beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean)!!! I told him I would be his law clerk there if he needed anyone!!!
Justice K and I were also making personal visits to plug and reaffirm Dean Starr's speaking event on Friday. It seems as though many of the judges are eagerly anticipating his arrival! The concept of a social gathering for the judges is something that is really pushing the boundaries here and could help increase camaraderie amongst the judges. We hope this might be the first of an annual event.
Otherwise, the internship projects are going well. Justice K has students in the commercial court working on various research projects regarding civil procedure and improvements to judicial efficiency. The students in the court of appeals (constitutional court) are making recommendations to the judges on whether appeal should be granted in various cases—primarily criminal in nature. In the criminal court, they are hearing a number of criminal cases and carrying the torch further on plea bargaining project. It sounds like they will make another presentation about plea bargaining this summer and the structure could be implemented in Uganda very soon. Finally, in the Supreme Court, our student has been working on a number of opinions and making court visits in Western Uganda with the Chief Justice. Overall, things are going well and the program is healthy.
Yesterday afternoon, I walked around Kampala's matatu (minibus) park. It's probably my favorite Ugandan experience in Kampala—very very different than any other place I've been anywhere and I'm the only "muzungu" (white person) in sight. Later, I met up with Patrick again and we walked around Makarere University and visited Roy—a friend of Patrick's who I also met at the IJM Prayer gathering when I was here a couple years ago. Both are wonderful guys. It was fun to talk with them for a while and see some of Kampala's back roads through the eyes of locals.