Abolish Tribal Clan Courts – CSOs

Lango Paramount Chief Yosam Odur

Civil society activists in the Lango sub region have called for the abolition of tribal clan courts citing gross abuse of human rights and promotion of mob justice.

The coalition of eight civil society organizations led by Ejang Arnold, click  the Programmes Manager Human Rights Advocacy Centre, website also calls for an inquiry into activities of the clan courts which he describes as illegal and whose decisions sometimes border on extra judicial penalties.

Ejang who  accuses the courts of abusing their powers by even passing out punitive sentences that are a reserve of the government courts of law, visit advises that government needs to come out to streamline the clan system so that their role is only limited to arbitration while conviction should be left to the formal justice system.

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He says some clan courts have gone as far as passing the death sentence on members brought before them.

The civil society cites the death of an elderly woman who was dragged to the clan court of Abako Achol, Kole district and sentenced to several strokes after witnesses allegedly faulted her for practicing witchcraft.

Joan Atim, a human rights activist with Gender Justice calls for an inquiry into the death of the 65year old woman who was found dead a day after being flogged by clan members last Sunday.

Atim also faults police whom, she says have released the suspects behind the death of the elderly woman while the chairperson of the clan court that ordered the battering remains at large and has not was subjected to any criminal legal proceedings.

However Kole district Criminal Investigations Officer Agaba Mogi Jimmy explains that suspects linked with the death of the woman were released temporarily but inquest into the matter is ongoing.

In other news, last Wednesday a clan official who is also the ruling National Resistance Movement party spokesperson for Oyam district was arraigned before court and charged with robbery and assault.

The official, Ogile Phillips Jakayo allegedly went to the homestead of a clan member in Abako subcounty, Alebtong district and forcefully took away five chickens, three goats, unspecified number of piglets and a bicycle allegedly on the orders of a court court.

The man whose homestead was raided by the clan official had reportedly been sentenced to a beating by his clan, Omola-Achol -Odyek -Onywal –Iceng on accusations of evading clan meetings.

Alebtong Magistrates court has since remanded Ogile to Alebtong government Prison after civil society organizations took up the matter.

Richard Nam, the Lango Cultural Foundation prime minister blames other clans for overstepping their mandate before concurring with the civil society organizations.

Two years ago a woman accused of practicing witchcraft was also sentenced to death and later buried alive by a clan court in Oyam district.

Suspects behind the act remain at large after they fled to yet to be known destinations.

North Kioga Police regional spokesperson David Ongom Mudong acknowledges that the law enforcement body has received several cases of destruction of property and human rights abuse against clan courts.


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