The deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Elem Ogwal, has revealed that their office is to use a new technique of anatomically detailed dolls to prosecute more than 700 cases of sexual and gender based violence effective October 25th, 2021.
Anatomically detailed dolls are specifically made with descriptive sexual reproductive parts and they are used in interviewing and leading evidence in court, of victims of crime in SGBV cases.
According to the DPP, the victims are able to illustrate how the sexual act occurred by use of those dolls, without having to expressly mention the names of the sexual reproductive organs, and without explaining the graphic details of how the act was performed.
Ogwal revealed this on Thursday while addressing journalists in his office in Kampala, about the new methods the directorate intends to use so as to secure more convictions in cases of SGBV such as defilement, aggravated defilement, trafficking in persons.
This is ahead of the 14 criminal sessions that are supposed to start next week in various High Court circuits and the Chief Magistrates Courts across the country.
The sessions are supposed to take place in the High Courts of Kampala, Kasese, Masaka, Mbarara, Tororo, Iganga, Moroto, Gulu, Adjumani and Otuke as well as in the Chief Magistrates Courts at Apac, Busia, Tororo and Nakapiripirit. The cases are expected to be concluded by December 2021.
The acting DPP explained further that 70 percent of the criminal cases registered and prosecuted in courts are related to SGBV and often times, they have failed to secure convictions on grounds that their witnesses are unable to clearly state what happened.
He added that most people in the country because of cultural and moral grounds, fear speaking about reproductive organs in public.
As such, Ogwal is hopeful that if one can be able to demonstrate how a sexual act happened with the use of dolls which have male and female organs, they will be able to secure many more convictions.
On her part, Rachael Odoi, the Senior Technical Advisor on Governance and Security/Access to Justice Program Uganda which was formerly known as the Justice Law and Order Sector noted that most of the people affected in SGBV cases are children and they can’t ably describe what happened.
According to Odoi, Uganda as a country has most of its beliefs based in strong cultural settings, most of which perceive the sexual act as a bad thing and hardly discuss it in the open. She adds also that each home and tribe has a different name used to refer to sexual organs.
However, Odoi is hopeful that the use of dolls will work as a demonstration to help victims clearly show court what happened and also aid the prosecutors to lead evidence without compelling the victim to recite words that may be uncomfortable mentioning in public.