The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda through its programme of Prevention and Mitigation of Gender Based Violence (GBV), is implementing a two and half year project in Busoga, to empower Khadi Courts, Sheikhs, and Imams with litigation skills to adjudicate in GBV matters.

The project which started in November, 2015, is aimed at ensuring that women and children enjoy increased access to justice in the Khadi Courts.

Khadi Courts are minor courts as recognized by the constitution of Uganda under Article 129, as one of the subordinate Courts of judicature exercising judicial power to deal with matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance of property and guardianship.

Khadi Courts in Uganda first operated without legislation until 2009 when their legalization was passed as an Act of Parliament. Cases were handled at mosques of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC)) offices at Districts, where offices existed. However, the mediation the mediation of these courts was not linked to any of the national laws but the Islamic teaching, basically based on the Holy Quran and Hadiths.

The GBV Programme Specialist, Mr. Edwin Kayuki, said the project will be implemented in the districts of Bugiiri, Mayuge, Jinja, Iganga and Kamuli.

Those particular districts were chosen because of the presence of Faith-based structures supported by IRCU, the existence of community structures, the high GBV burden in Busoga region, and the existence of synergies from other reputable organizations delivering GBV related interventions in the region.

The activities to be carried out in this project is assessing the capacities of the Sheiks and Imams in using the human rights approach in adjudicating cases of GBV, produce a manual of human rights framework and procedures for the Khadi Courts, strengthen institutionalization of GBV in the Muslim calendar and enhancing Khadi Courts to provide better premarital and marital counselling.

The programme will also involve training of Sheikhs and Imams in the human rights approach in mitigating cases of GBV in Khadi Courts, and purchasing of equipment to facilitate the delivery of justice to women, children and men in Khadi Courts.

Through the implementation of this programme, the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda intends to achieve improved litigation procedures and processes in regard to national and international laws to adjudicators of Khadi Courts through information dissemination.

IRCU also intends to achieve enhanced capacity of Imams and Sheikhs in presiding over the Khadi courts to prevent, respond to, and minimize effects of GBV among the Muslim community.

Also expected in increased reporting of cases to Khadi Courts and enhanced coordination of GBV interventions among FBO actors and other stakeholders for effective prevention and response to GBV.