Justice Okalany of Uganda Wins Global Prosecutor Award

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Justice Susan Okalany

Justice Susan Okalany of Uganda High Court has been awarded the prestigious title of Prosecutor of the Year by the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP), for her role as chief prosecutor in the July 11, 2010 Kampala twin bombings.

Okalany was honoured on Tuesday at this year’s IAP event held in the Chinese capital Beijing.

With her team comprising principal state attorneys Lino Anguzu, John Baptist Asiimwe, Thomas Jatiko, and Racheal Bikhole, they secured a conviction of eight out of the 13 accused.

The trial was presided over by the Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo,who delivered judgment last year on May 26.

Prior to her elevation to position of judge, Okalany was at the rank of Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions. She replaced the then lead prosecutor Joan Kagezi who was slain on March 30, 2015 by unknown assailants in the city suburb of Kiwatule.

On June 8,when the trial resumed, Director of Public Prosecutions Mike Chibita led a high level delegation to court and introduced Okalany as the lead prosecutor.

On Tuesday, Chibita explained that he nominated Okalany for the award because she exhibited “tremendous courage, tenacity, professionalism and ingenuity” throughout the case, despite “constant threats to her life, her team and the loss of a dear colleague”.

The devastating effect explosions left 78 people dead, and many  injured. A total of 82 prosecution witnesses and 13 defence witnesses, testified.

It is almost seven years since the bombs went off at Kyadondo Rugby Club, Lugogo, and at Ethiopian Village Restaurant in the city suburb of Kabalagala.

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Revelers were watching the Federation of International Football Associations World Cup final game between Spain and Holland. The tournament was hosted by the Republic of South Africa.

The third bomb planted at Makindye House in the city suburb of Makindye failed to go off. It was rigged to explode when the phone rang but it malfunctioned. It was recovered the next day.

Somali militant outfit Al shabaab, an affiliate of Al qaeda, claimed responsibility. The outfit justified the attack, saying it was a warning for Uganda army that formed part of AMISOM to exit Somalia.

The trial started in September 2011.Two self-confessed conspirators, Mahmoud Mugisha and Edris Nsubuga, were convicted after pleading guilty.

Okalany profile

Susan Okalany was the lead prosecutor in the Kampala bombings trial as a principal state attorney at DPP.

Okalany has risen through the ranks to her current position. Previously, she worked as a consular assistant at the American Embassy, researcher with Forum for Women in Democracy and legal assistant at Ochienghs-Wellborn and Company Advocates.

As DPP, she headed the gender and sexual offences division and also the electoral offences investigations and prosecutions task force at the DPP.

Okalany served as resident state attorney in Tororo, Iganga, Mbarara and Masaka districts

Source: New Vision

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