By Mukose Arnold Anthony
The high court judge lady justice Lydia Mugambe has cleared the lawyers of a former student of Makerere University to file a court case under the pseudonym (false name) OPQ, in order to shield her identity during and after the court case.
The lawyers of center for legal aid Uganda under the leadership of Isaac Ssemakadde ran to courts of law on 27th Feb 2018 and filed a miscellaneous cause NO. 17.2018 in a matter of O.P.Q, a female student at Makerere University in an application to preserve anonymity during litigation about alleged sexual harassment
In a historical green light by justice Muganbe issued before Mr. Isaac Ssemakdde of center or legal aid and advocate for the applicant, Mr. Charles Narugahare university secretary Makerere University, Mr. canon Goddy Muhanguzi Muhumuza the director legal affairs Makerere University, Mr. Muzamiru Kibedi M/s Kibedi and advocates counsel for the universality, a protective order has been issued restraining the identities of the applicant who is a student of Makerere university from being disclosed.
The order also restrains not only the lawyers for the applicant but also the respondent and media is barred from revealing the identity, college, hall of residence and other related applicant’s information both before/during the proceedings and after the case is disposed off.
Ordinarily the Rules of Court require the parties give their full names and addresses before a court case can be registered but, Justice Lydia Mugambe, has set history once again by creatively adapting the law to suit the demands of justice, in this case for victims of sexual assault.
In an interview with counsel Ssemakadde, said that the suit will, among others issues, seek to expose the culture of covering up sexual harassment at Makerere University, and also to recover compensation from the University. He added that the media may cover the legal proceedings, but they’ve been cautioned not to disclose the identity of the victim…. They should only refer to her as OPQ.
“The case is important because many other victims and their lawyers can now learn how to seek justice “anonymously”, without revealing their identities as to avoid additional and permanent shame, embarrassment” Ssemakadde noted.
Mr Isaac Ssemakadde of Centre for Legal Aid and Ms Sheila Namahe of Maxim Advocates have confirmed that they will be filing the lawsuit on their client’s behalf tomorrow, Tuesday 6 March, 2018.
In June 2017, Justice Mugambe has been on helm eversince she won the People’s Choice Global Award for Best Judicial Decision From All Around the World in June 2017, after participants in an online poll credited her progressive judgment in the Mulago Stolen Baby Case, the case that drew public attentions and reactions.
Before the 2017 award, Mugambe had been recognized by the US Embassy in Kampala in March 2015 with another award for “overcoming significant barriers and demonstrating immense tenacity in championing an exceptional cause that has contributed to the development of their community.