Many countries have witness protection programs to incentivize witness testimony. Witness
protection allows the government to provide health and safety to those who may testify against
drug traffickers, organized crime members, and other criminals in which the witness’ security
may be in jeopardy.
Thirteen countries have a variation of a witness protection program. Some of the resources
afforded under the program include professional training, relocation, education, medical care,
psychological services, and a new identity. The government often possesses broad discretion in
deciding who qualifies for admission into the program. However, all countries require the
witness to agree to testify in exchange for protection.
Witness protection is particularly important in protecting women and children who are victims of
violence since these crimes often go unreported. Thus, witness protection allows victims and
family members or friends of victims to seek justice without fearing harm from the perpetrator.
However, small, impoverished nations often lack the resources to fund witness protection
programs. One of these countries is Uganda. Thus, this semester I have been working on a
project for International Justice Mission (IJM) that seeks to discuss why Uganda needs a witness
protection program and give suggestions as to how to make the program cost-friendly.
Ultimately, I hope this project provides a resource for IJM, and the organization can use it to
educate Uganda’s government, victims, and anyone else IJM believes will benefit from it.
Even if only a small step in the right direction, I hope my work unveils how Uganda can use
witness protection to render justice for women and children who are victims of violence.
Written by Fallon Forrestel, a Clerk for the Center for Global Justice