EVOLVE
Susan Kigula

Evolve's work began by supporting beneficiaries of the decision in Susan Kigula v. 417 Ors.

 

That decision held the mandatory death penalty unconstitutional, triggering work over more than a decade to ensure that every person wrongly incarcerated on death row had opportunity to present mitigation and be sentenced afresh.

 

Evolve assisted in drafting legal submissions, organising file tracing, developing a pilot program of social enquiry reports into offenders' backgrounds, and offering technical support to advocates in court.

Casework

Evolve offers urgent technical assistance in capital cases in Uganda.

 

We assist in identifying and organising competent representation for capital appellants; our barristers offer assistance with case preparation and legal arguments, and support and mentor advocates in court.

 

Our goal is to ensure that every inmate on Death Row in Uganda receives a fair trial, including at the sentencing phase, in accordance with international and domestic human rights standards.

 

 

 

Sentencing Guidelines

Evolve has been working with the Ugandan Judiciary since 2018 to develop new High Court Sentencing Guidelines. 

 

Evolve organised a two day sentencing conference that took place as part of the 20th Annual Judge's conference in Uganda, presenting research on sentencing consistency, and on other sentencing themes.

 

In 2019 Evolve organised for a delegation of the Ugandan Sentencing Guidelines Committee to benchmark practises and systems in the UK.

 

New guidelines are now being finalised for anticipated release in 2022. Evolve has provided expert input into their provisions and will assist with implementation, training, and impact monitoring.

Research

Evolve conducts research into issues affecting the criminal justice system. 

 

In 2018 we presented research into sentencing inconsistencies arising out of the functioning of the 2013 High Court Sentencing Guidelines to the Ugandan Judiciary. 

 

Since 2018 Evolve has been monitoring sentencing trends in Uganda and building legal resources for criminal legal professionals.

 

In October 2021 Evolve presented research to the Ugandan Supreme Court on contemporary sentencing issues, and comparative  solutions.

 

In 2022 Evolve will begin offering digital resources for legal professionals in Uganda.

File Tracing

Lost case files continue to stall case progression and create case backlog, whilst unnecessarily prolonging custody for those who are exonerated on appeal.

 

Evolve assists with locating missing files; a painstaking process of physical retrieval requiring countrywide searches and meticulous investigation.

 

In 2021 Evolve re-organised the Ugandan Supreme Court Registry as a preventative measure against file loss, building a digital case database to render cases searchable and traceable in future. 

In 2022 Evolve will continue to locate missing capital case files, and to work for resolutions in cases where they are irretrievably lost.

 

Training and Capacity Building

Evolve seeks to build international partnerships  to share criminal justice best practices.

 

Our experts have in the past trained judges, advocates, and court staff in Uganda on critical criminal justice issues ranging from sentencing to psychiatric illness, from international capital punishment law to appellate drafting.

In 2022 we will be making training resources available online for criminal legal professionals in Uganda, to build capacity.

 

These will range from resources addressing issues such as advocacy, ethics, and court presentation, to resources briefing on appellate procedure and best practice, emerging caselaw, and training of stakeholders on the operation and effect of new Sentencing Guidelines.