The Directorate of Prosecutions is one of the four directorates in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is mandated to do the following:
- Initiate, formulate and review policies, rules and regulations regarding public prosecutions and management of the institution.
- Coordinate and harmonize the departments, divisions, sections, units and desks towards fulfilling the institution’s objectives in the management of public prosecutions and administration of criminal justice.
- Identify the need, advocate and negotiate for support and additional resources for effective public prosecutions and administration of criminal justice.
- Ensure effective monitoring, evaluation and support of public prosecutions to improve performance of the institution and the criminal justice process.
- Manage and coordinate the professional requirements and technical needs of specialized units, regional and district field offices in the conduct of prosecutions.
- Coordinate and manage dissemination of best prosecution practices and policies to uplift the standards of criminal prosecutions.
- Provide technical and tactical leadership in conduct of investigations and prosecutions.
- Initiate and promote improvements in investigations and prosecution practices across the country.
The Directorate of Prosecutions ensures that criminal cases are critically examined before they are registered in court, that police are directed to institute criminal investigations in appropriate cases, and that there is take over and continuance of criminal proceedings instituted by other persons or authorities where necessary, and withdrawal of the same where necessary. It is responsible for enhancing public confidence in the prosecution services of the ODPP.
There are five departments under this directorate and they include; the Anti-Corruption Department, Department of Gender, Children and Sexual Offences, Land Crimes Department, Department of General Case Work and the Department of Appeals and Miscellaneous Applications.
Within the Directorate of Prosecutions are two divisions; the Homicide Division which manages homicide cases, and the Building Control Crimes Division that manages building-related crimes. These divisions are all under the Department of General Case Work.
There are two units in the Directorate of Prosecutions and they include; the Cybercrime Unit that manages cybercrimes and the Plea Bargain Unit which coordinates plea bargain. These units are all under the Department of General Case Work.
The Directorate of Prosecutions is headed by Mr. Charles Elem-Ogwal – Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP).
ANTI–CORRUPTION DEPARTMENT (ACD)
The Anti-Corruption Department (ACD) of the ODPP is a specialized department in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions under the Directorate of Prosecutions mandated to handle and prosecute corruption and related cases. The offences handled by the department are primarily under the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2011, cybercrime laws such as the Computer Misuse Act, 2011, Electronic Signatures Act, 2011, Electronic Transactions Act, 2011, and related legislation.
The functional areas of the department are; conducting prosecution-led investigations into corruption and money laundering crimes, making prosecutorial decisions in corruption and money laundering cases, prosecution of corruption and money laundering cases, handling and prosecution of appeals in corruption and money laundering cases, handling all miscellaneous applications in corruption and money laundering cases, establishing and maintaining effective linkages with key stakeholders in the fight against corruption and money laundering, and issuing administrative instructions for sanctions against public officials charged with and convicted of corruption.
In addition to the above, the ACD is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the ODPP Anti-Corruption Strategy, 2019 created to bolster the fight against corruption.
This department which is based in Kololo is headed by Ms. Josephine Namatovu – Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP).
DEPARTMENT OF GENDER, CHILDREN AND SEXUAL OFFENCES
The Department of Gender, Children and Sexual Offences is a specialized department in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions under the Directorate of Prosecutions. Its mandate is to handle Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and children-related cases through prosecution-led investigations, perusal and sanctioning of related files, and conducting related prosecutions. The department also handles gender and equity mainstreaming within the ODPP.
Its key objectives are; to provide legal advice to investigators in SGBV and children-related cases, to prosecute SGBV and children-related cases, to promote gender responsive strategies, and to maintain stakeholder collaborations.
The department ensures the implementation of handbooks/manuals including “Prosecuting Child-related Cases in Uganda”, the “Cross-Sectoral Handbook for Victim Centered Investigation, Prosecution and Adjudication of Gender Based Violence (GBV) Cases,” and the “Multi-Disciplinary Training Curriculum on Gender Based Violence and Violence Against Children (VAC),” developed to streamline the handling of highly prevalent GBV and VAC cases right from the time of reporting of the cases at Police, prosecution and during trial, in a victim-centred, gender-responsive, child-friendly, and trauma informed manner, with coordinated approaches.
The department is headed by Ms. Samali Wakooli – Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP).
LAND CRIMES DEPARTMENT
The Land Crimes Department is a specialized department in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which falls under the Directorate of Prosecutions, and is mandated to handle land crime.
The functional areas of the department comprise; conducting prosecution–led investigations in respect of sensitive and complicated land-related matters, perusing and studying land-related case files submitted to the ODPP Headquarters and guiding/directing police on investigations, prosecuting all land-related cases in all courts including appellate courts countrywide, conducting visits to ODPP stations and auditing land-related cases in the system, training members of staff in handling land-related matters, carrying out research on the existing policy and legislation on land and making recommendations for reform/review, studying selected court decisions and setting up a database for the same, and engaging with other stakeholders in order to devise ways and means of reducing land-related crimes.
Land crimes include malicious damage to property, criminal trespass, threatening violence and assaults which usually stem from land squabbles.
Establishment of the department was premised on the increasing number of land-related criminal cases in Uganda associated with their negative consequences, the sophistication with which the crimes are committed, the sensitivity with which the matters needed to be handled at all levels, as well as the concern of the failure by professionals and the public to understand what amounts to a land crime and its distinction from civil wrongs.
The Land Crimes Department is additionally responsible for the implementation of the “ODPP Guidelines for the Management of Investigations and Prosecution of Land Crimes in Uganda, 2022,” that highlights the key stakeholders in dealing with land crimes, and streamlines their roles and the procedures to be followed when handling land crime, to ensure successful handling and prosecution of land crimes.
The department is under the stewardship of Mr. Andrew Odiit – Principal Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (PADPP).
DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL CASE WORK
The Department of General Case Work falls under the Directorate of Prosecutions.
This department is responsible for conducting prosecution-led investigations in general crimes, prosecuting criminal cases relating to general crimes, handling and improving the quality of general crime cases through perusal, sanctioning and committal proceedings, and maintaining coordination with stakeholders with interests in general crimes.
Under this department are two divisions; the Homicide Division which manages homicide cases, and the Building Control Crimes Division which manages building-related crimes.
In addition, the department has two units; the Plea Bargain Unit which manages plea bargain and the Cybercrime Unit which handles cybercrimes.
The Department of General Case Work is under the control of Ms. Margaret Nakigudde Kato – Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP).
The Homicide Division is a specialized division under the Department of General Case Work which is under the Directorate of Prosecutions, and is responsible for managing homicide cases.
Specifically, the mandate of the Homicide Division is to; guide homicide investigations (through prosecution-led investigations), peruse and make prosecutorial decisions in homicide cases, improve the quality of homicide cases, coordinate and prosecute homicide cases, and coordinate with stakeholders on matters pertaining to homicides.
The division is headed by Ms. Margaret Nakigudde Kato – Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP).
PLEA BARGAIN UNIT
The Plea Bargain Unit falls under the Department of General Case Work under the Directorate of Prosecutions.
This unit manages plea bargain. It holds plea bargain camps, negotiates and prepares plea bargain agreements, and presents plea bargain agreements in court.
In addition, the Plea Bargain Unit is responsible for the implementation of the ODPP Plea Bargain Guidelines, 2021, created to streamline procedures and processes to be followed by prosecutors during the plea bargain process, and to enhance the efficiency of the plea bargain program; for orderly, predictable, uniform, consistent and timely resolution of criminal matters.
Plea bargain is used by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as a mechanism to fast track criminal cases or to reduce case backlog.
The unit is headed by Ms. Margaret Nakigudde Kato – Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP).
The Cybercrime Unit which falls under the Department of General Case Work under the Directorate of Prosecutions was established in 2020 as a baseline towards building a de facto specialized cybercrime prosecution unit in the country to streamline investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes.
This was premised on the fact that technological advancement has seen the increase and sophistication of criminal activities, with several crimes now being committed through the use of internet and ICT infrastructure, including but not limited to money laundering crimes, cyber harassment among others. So, the intention was to create specialized personnel with an understanding of concepts of computing and the internet, a knowledge of cybercrime legislative frameworks, and the ability to understand and present electronic evidence in court.
Accordingly, the mandate of the Cybercrime Unit is to; guide cybercrime investigations (through prosecution-led investigations), peruse and make prosecutorial decisions in cybercrime cases, coordinate and prosecute cybercrime cases, handle complaints that relate to cybercrime cases, and coordinate with stakeholders on matters pertaining to cybercrime.
It is envisaged that this Cybercrimes Unit will greatly improve the quality of evidence gathered and presentation of digital evidence in court, leading to an efficient and effective management of not only cybercrimes and related cases, but all crimes countrywide.
The unit is under the stewardship of Ms. Marion Acio – Chief State Attorney (CSA).
BUILDING CONTROL CRIMES DIVISION (BCCD)
The Building Control Crimes Division (BCCD) was established in 2021 and falls under the department of General Case Work under the Directorate of Prosecutions.
The division is mandated to; guide the National Building Review Board (NBRB) on the process of investigation and prosecution of building-related cases; ensure that prosecution-led investigations are conducted in relation to building-related cases, ensure that building-related cases investigated by the NBRB are legitimized through opening up of police case files and carrying out systematic investigations to allow for eventual prosecution, and advise NBRB on the effectiveness of building-related laws and areas where amendment of the law is required so as to effectively deter errant developers.
This division is headed by Ms. Vicky Nabisenke – Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP).
APPEALS AND APPLICATIONS DEPARTMENT
The Department of Appeals and Applications is a department under the Directorate of Prosecutions.
This department is mandated to handle and prosecute criminal appeals and miscellaneous applications in Uganda, and to develop strategies for their effective coordination and management. Allied to this central mandate is the departmental brief to initiate appeals and miscellaneous applications to resolve key legal issues and to seek review of contested appellate processes in all courts in the country. The department also participates in appeal and miscellaneous application session meetings with appellate courts and other stakeholders to ensure proper disposal of appeals and miscellaneous applications. Complaints relating to appeals and miscellaneous applications are also handled by this department.
This department is headed by Ms. Carolyn Nabaasa Hope – Principal Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (PADPP).