SEPTEMBER 30, 2010: Committee to Domesticate Eleven International Laws

Committee to Domesticate Eleven International Laws

SOURCE: The Monitor

By Alfred Nyongesa Wandera

Uganda National Committee of International Humanitarian Law on Thursday started debating the domestication of 11 international law instruments that Uganda has ratified but not implemented.

The meeting conducted in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), follows a 'relaxed attitude' to implement the laws that Uganda is a signatory to, according to Mr Chris Black, ICRC's regional legal advisor based in South Africa.

Despite the national committee being established in March, this is the first meeting to discuss the way forward to have the laws become part of Uganda's legal system.

Some of the international instruments that seek to protect humanitarian interests that Uganda ratified but not yet domesticated include Additional Protocol I, II, and III to the Geneva Conventions of 1949; 1980 Convention on Prohibition or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects; and 1980 Additional Protocol I (Non Detectable Fragments), II (Mines and booby traps) and III Incendiary Weapons).

Others are the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological(Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction; 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, production, stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and their Destruction.

Others are the 2008 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced persons in Africa; and the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfers of Anti-Personnel Mines and their Destruction.

Citing the example of laxity in domestication of the laws, Mr Black said while 194 states are parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention, by 2009, only 91 National Committees had been set up globally in the partner states to champion its domestication.

"There is always lack of political will and awareness and institutional framework in the states to domesticate the laws," Mr Black said.

The National Committee comprises representatives from ministriesof defence , Internal Affairs, Justice , Foreign Affairs, Justice Law and Order Sector, Finance ministry; ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development; UPDF and Parliament.

Uganda National Committee is headed by Mr Apollo Kazungu, a Commissioner in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Mr Kazungu said whereas there is no time frame tagged to implementation of the laws, the committee will work in consultation with the line ministries and departments to ensure they are domesticated.

However he cited difficulties in identifying line ministries saying it has been one the problems dragging the domestication process.

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