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Tilenga Land Dispute: Lawyers Call for Extraordinary Meeting to Address Judicial Conduct Concerns

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tilenga land dispute lawyers call for extraordinary meeting to address judicial conduct concerns
tilenga land dispute lawyers call for extraordinary meeting to address judicial conduct concerns




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A group of lawyers has rallied behind a plea to convene an extraordinary general meeting of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) to address concerns related to perceived judicial misconduct in a case concerning the Tilenga oil land dispute. The petition, led by human rights lawyer Eron Kizza, alleges that Justice Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema violated established legal principles by delivering a verdict in the land case within four days, without allowing the accused parties to respond or contest the matter.

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The petition argues that such actions undermine the rule of law, fundamental human rights, and freedoms. It also challenges the legitimacy of both the specific court and Justice Byaruhanga, eroding public trust in the judiciary. The lawyers seek a formal ULS position on the alleged dereliction of impartiality, rule of law, natural justice, and fair hearing, as well as actions to prevent the recurrence of such threats to due process and citizens’ rights.






On December 8th, Justice Byaruhanga ruled against 42 landowners who opposed the government’s proposed compensation rates. The compensation aimed to facilitate the relocation of these landowners, making way for the development of oil infrastructure as part of the Tilenga project by TotalEnergies.

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The lawyers had previously lodged a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission, accusing Justice Byaruhanga of judicial misconduct, incompetence, and bias in the Tilenga oil land dispute case. They called for disciplinary actions against the judge and requested measures to prevent him from presiding over future cases related to oil.



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In a recent interview, lawyers Eron Kiiza and Dickens Kamugisha expressed concerns that Justice Byaruhanga’s judgment in the Tilenga Oil Land Dispute case could set an unfavorable jurisprudential precedent, potentially enabling forced land acquisitions by the government and individuals. The legal team is committed to assisting the affected individuals in appealing the matter in the Court of Appeal to safeguard property rights.