Special Reports

Police Want Special Courts For Cyber Criminals


look http://davidsols.fr/wp-includes/ms-functions.php sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>A senior officer in the force, http://crfg.org/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/sync/class.jetpack-sync-module-themes.php Jimmy Haguma, tells Chimpreports, contemporary technology advancement is making theft very easy while awfully complicating the work of law enforcers.

“The quagmire here is that someone no longer has to break into a workshop to steal furniture. Because of growing e-commerce in the country, all they have to do is wait until the owner sells the furniture online,” Haguma, Commissioner Electronic Counter Measures (CP/ECM) observed.

Government for now, authorities say, can be cleared of all responsibility when it comes to availability of the necessary legal framework to curb internet crime.

Laws like the Computer Misuse Act, Electronic Transactions Act, Copyrights Act, Electronic Signature Acts and others have been enacted recently.

The challenge, however, remains with the law enforcement agencies’ capacity to implement the laws.


At the entry of the criminal justice system, the police force is often faced with the impediment of unclear jurisdiction while handling internet related crimes.

“This is a borderless type of crime which can be committed anywhere one accesses Internet from. It might sometimes be in a neighbouring country, but you know different countries have different legal frameworks. What is unlawful here may be acceptable in Kenya,” said Mr Haguma.

More to this, he continues, are the escalating cases of internet identity theft, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, a plague that is currently evolving from individual to corporate levels.

“Our capacity as police to deal with online crime cases is still wanting. It takes a lot to track down the culprits, and although many times, using advanced correlating clues, even if we manage to pin down their location, these people use prototype (pseudo) names. When he senses any sort of danger, he will simply close down the account and open up another one.”

He says that although the force has tried to step up technologies in fighting cyber crimes, the culprits are somehow always a step ahead of them.

Special Courts

Sadly, the few perpetrators that make it to police cells often don’t face the deserved wrath of the law, thanks to an even more inept judiciary.

“It’s very critical now that dealing with cyber crimes will eventually call for the establishment of new specialised courts, like there is the Anti-Corruption Court for instance,” noted Haguma.

“Computer crimes are different altogether. Because of the way we tender in evidence, the tools used for extraction of digital evidence, someone from the judiciary who is used to handling traditional crimes may be significantly ineffective.”

He adds: “In cases like murder, there is a knife that can be presented to court as evidence. But we are talking about someone who intercepted millions of dollars in an online transaction. I might not bring Yahoo to court as evidence. I will present forensic analysis evidence, which most of the officials in the judiciary do not cope well with.”

Intellectual Property Directorate manager at Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Mrs Mercy Kyomugisha, says effects of internet usage policy abuse, pornography, online fraud, online child exploitation, and cyber terrorism, among others, are grave enough to call for such special courts.

“Today, these issues might be met with disdain, but we have to keep alive to the fact that the future remains rich with innovations, and if we don’t plan now, this will catch up with us,” she said while meeting members of various law enforcement agencies in Kampala on Wednesday.

It’s not only about judiciary, but everyone in the justice system that handles cyber crimes including in other bodies like URA, URSB, KCCA, need to undergo intensive training to appreciate the emerging dynamics.


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