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Ugandan lawyer takes legal battle against UK Sanctions on Among to European Court

A photo Collage of Lawyer Joshua Okello, UK's Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Andrew Mitchell and Uganda's Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Anita Among (Photo/DailyExpress)

Kampala, (UG):- In a bold move against international sanctions targeting Uganda, Soroti City lawyer Joshua Okello has now shifted the legal battle against the United Kingdom government to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg citing delays in setting a hearing date for his earlier cases.

According to Mr Okello, the High Court Civil Division in Kampala, where he initially filed a case challenging the sanctions imposed on Speaker Anita Among has intentionally overlooked his petitions and refused to set a date for the case hearing.

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The Maverick City lawyer says ever since filing the case in Kampala, he has faced continuous postponements, with court officials citing a backlog of cases from 2023.

And now, frustrated by the lack of progress, Okello decided to take his fight to the ECHR, an esteemed international court renowned for its effectiveness in interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Ever since the time I filed a case against the United Kingdom government at the High Court Civil Division in Kampala, over the illegal sanctions that they imposed on Speaker Anita Among, no hearing date has been fixed, each time I try to make inquiries they tell me to wait till when the judge is done with cases of 2023,” Okello says in his petition.

“The court is mandated to fix hearing dates regardless of the number of files being handled. This delay is unacceptable and has demoralized me,” he added, further stating that “Transferring the case to the European Court of Human Rights was my only viable option, and I am hopeful that they will address it promptly.”

Okello’s case against the UK government centres on what he describes as “illegal sanctions” imposed on Speaker Among. The specifics of the sanctions and their impact have not been disclosed, but Okello insists that they violate fundamental human rights principles and warrant international scrutiny.

“I believe in the power of justice and the rule of law,” Okello stated, adding that; “The European Court of Human Rights offers a glimmer of hope that this matter will be resolved fairly and justly.”

According to legal experts, Okello’s move at ECHR is a significant escalation in this high profile, with one scholar stating thus; “the European Court of Human Rights is widely regarded as the most effective international human rights court in the world.”

“By bringing the case to Strasbourg, Okello is not only seeking justice for Speaker Among but also challenging the legitimacy of the sanctions on a global stage,” he adds.

The ECHR is expected to schedule a hearing for Okello’s case soon. As the legal battle progresses, it could set a precedent for how sanctions disputes involving state officials are handled in international courts.

About ECHR

The ECHR, established in 1959, has a distinguished history of adjudicating human rights cases. It decided its first case in 1960, Lawless v. Ireland, and since then, it has been a critical platform for individuals and states seeking justice under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court allows applications from individuals, groups, and contracting states, making it a significant venue for international human rights litigation.

Okello’s high-profile case underscores the complexities of international law and the lengths to which individuals will go to seek redress. As his fight continues, all eyes will be on the Strasbourg court to see how it navigates this intricate legal challenge.

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