Ugandan Barrister Runs to European Court of Human Rights over UK’s Sanctions on Speaker Anita

By Steven Enatu




Legal advocate Joshua Okello has taken a step beyond the African continent to file a formal complaint regarding international sanctions imposed on Ugandan Speaker, Anita Among.


Okello who has escalated his legal campaign against the United Kingdom government to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France filed his complaint on Tuesday, 4th June, 2024.


This decision follows several delays in the High Court Civil Division in Kampala, where Okello initially lodged a lawsuit contesting the sanctions enforced on Speaker Anita Among on the 7th May, 2024.


Since initiating the case in Kampala, Okello has encountered continual postponements, with court officials attributing the backlog of cases from 2023.


Disheartened by the lack of progress, Okello opted to take his battle to the ECHR, a prestigious international court recognized for its efficacy in interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights.


“The court is obliged to set hearing dates irrespective of the volume of cases being handled. This delay is intolerable and has disheartened me,” Okello says before adding that transferring the case to the European Court of Human Rights was his sole viable alternative showing optimism that they will address it promptly.


Established in 1959, the ECHR boasts a distinguished legacy in adjudicating human rights disputes. It rendered its inaugural verdict in 1960, Lawless v. Ireland, and has since served as a pivotal platform for individuals and nations seeking justice under the European Convention on Human Rights.


The court entertains applications from individuals, groups, and contracting states, rendering it a significant forum for international human rights litigation.


Okello’s lawsuit against the UK government revolves around what he characterizes as “illegitimate sanctions” imposed on Speaker Among. The specifics of the sanctions and their ramifications have not been disclosed, yet Okello contends that they contravene fundamental human rights principles and warrant international scrutiny.


Legal authorities perceive Okello’s maneuver as a notable escalation.


“The European Court of Human Rights is widely acknowledged as the most efficient international human rights tribunal globally,” remarked an international law expert.


“By taking the case to Strasbourg, Okello is not only pursuing justice for Speaker Among but also contesting the validity of the sanctions on a worldwide platform,” he added.


The ECHR is anticipated to arrange a hearing for Okello’s case imminently. As the legal dispute advances, it could establish a precedent for the handling of sanctions disputes involving state officials in international courts.


“I have faith in the supremacy of justice and the rule of law,” Okello affirmed arguing that European Court of Human Rights presents a ray of hope that this issue will be resolved equitably and justly.


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