Tragic murder of Ugandan prosecutor Kagezi

JOAN KAGEZI photo2

Ugandan prosecutor for the International Crimes Division, Joan Kagezi © Vital Voices

We join the world in condemning the tragic murder last month of Ugandan international crimes prosecutor Joan Kegazi who had dedicated her life to fighting impunity.

Kegazi was shot and killed on the outskirts of Kampala on 30 March 2015. Authorities believe the assassination could be linked to her work prosecuting high-profile terrorism and war crimes cases.

Steven Lamony, senior advisor with the Coalition for the ICC:

“The targeted killing of Joan Kagezi, senior principal state attorney in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of Uganda, under unclear circumstances raises questions about the safety of prosecutors who attempt to end impunity. The government should stop these killings from happening again by providing security guards to prosecutors involved in sensitive cases.”

As the assistant director of public prosecution at the International Crimes Division (ICD) of Uganda’s high court, Kagezi had been preparing for the opening of the trial of 13 al-Shabaab militants suspected of involvement in the 2010 twin bomb attacks in Kampala.

Though the identity of the assailants remains under investigation, Ugandan media reports that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and three others have been arrested in connection to the murder.

In her 21 years as a public prosecutor, Kagezi succeeding in securing many high-profile convictions. She was also involved in prosecuting the case of former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) militia leader Thomas Kwoyelo—the first case to come before the ICD.

Established in July 2008, Uganda’s ICD is a special division of the high court mandated to provide accountability for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of terrorism in Uganda.

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