Last week, the Center for Global Justice had the honor of hosting top Ugandan prosecutor, Rachel Bikhole. Rachel is a seasoned advocate with over eighteen years of experience prosecuting criminal cases in Uganda. She serves as the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) , similar to the Office of the Attorney General in the United States. In this role, she also leads the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Division and serves as the Deputy Head of the International Crimes Department. Rachel has successfully handled numerous high profile cases, including the 2010 Kampala twin bombing terrorism case.
Law School and undergraduate students attended a lunch discussion where Rachel shared about her passion for justice, her extensive experience in law, as well as cultural and logistical challenges that her office faces. Rachel met with Center staff to review successes of our twelve-year partnership with the ODPP and to discuss possible avenues for continued, future collaboration.
Since its creation in 2012, the Center has provided critical assistance to the ODPP, primarily in the form of research and hands-on case support in Uganda. Our student interns and graduate fellows living in Uganda have worked hundreds of hours on case organization, legislation review, trial preparation and appellate advocacy, positively changing the trajectory of many cases. On campus each semester, our student staff research topics related to current cases and best practices in prosecution. Dean Walton’s 2019 paper on the State Department’s Annual Trafficking in Persons Report for Uganda has become an informal handbook for the ODPP, guiding their implementation of the Report’s key recommendations. Our students and staff have gained invaluable experience, learning from excellent, passionate Ugandan attorneys and judges.
Looking forward, the Center hopes to continue collaborating with the ODPP. Specific potential projects include the following: preparing a handbook based on the newly enacted Human Sacrifice Act; expanding a current memo on the need for and plan to fund Witness Protection systems in Uganda, specifically providing guidance on financial investigations and forfeiture procedures; preparing training material or virtual training sessions for the newly established Women Association of Prosecutors; and, participating in an exchange program with law students or prosecutors.
The longstanding relationship with the ODPP has proved profoundly impactful for all involved. We hope and pray that the Center can continue to partner in the advancement of justice through the important work of the ODPP.