Women and Justice: Court: High Court of Uganda

Domestic Case Law

Babumba v. Kizito High Court of Uganda (1992)

Property and inheritance rights

Here, the Court held that “having a child or children by the deceased is not enough to confer on the woman widowhood.” Consequently, the claimant was unable to inherit property from her deceased partner.



Negulu v. Serugga High Court of Uganda (2013)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage

Here, the Court held that failure to register a customary marriage did not necessarily invalidate it and that one can be considered customarily married as soon as the customary ceremonies of a tribe have been performed.



The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) v. Mulago National Referral Hospital High Court of Uganda (2013)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, International law

Here, Justice Lydia Mugambe held that Mulago National Referral Hospital’s negligence and the resulting disappearance of the couple’s baby amounted to psychological torture for the parents and violated their rights to health and access to information. Specifically, Justice Mugambe held that a woman’s inability to access sufficient antenatal care demonstrates a failure on the part of the State to fulfill its obligations under the right to health. The decision outlines Uganda’s obligations under international law to devote special attention and resources to women whose circumstances make them vulnerable.



Uganda v. Hamidu and Others High Court of Uganda (2004)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Forced and early marriage, Gender discrimination, Sexual violence and rape

Here, the Court rejected defendant’s argument that his mistaken belief that the complainant was his wife was a sufficient defense against a conviction of rape. The Court, relying on Article 31 of the Constitution, stated that both husband and wife enjoy equal rights in marriage and stated that the complainant’s dignity was trampled upon. The Court thus extends access to justice by construing the existing law on rape through the reasoning that the constitutional provisions on equality in marriage and the recognition of the equal dignity of women and men had effectively amended Sections 9 and 123 of the Penal Code. These sections at face exclude husbands from being held criminally liable for marital rape.



Mukasa and Oyo v. Attorney General High Court of Uganda (2008)

LGBTIQ

Here, the Court held that government officials violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiff by illegally raiding plaintiff’s home without a search warrant, seizing plaintiff’s documents related to her work as an advocate for the human rights of LGBTQ persons, and illegally arresting a guest present at plaintiff’s home during the raid. Later, at the police station, plaintiff’s guest was forcibly undressed and fondled to “determine” her sex. The Court held that plaintiff and plaintiff’s guest were treated in an inhuman and degrading manner amounting to sexual harassment and indecent assault.