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Reading: Institutional specialisation in the battle against corruption: Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Court

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Institutional specialisation in the battle against corruption: Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Court

Author:

Lindsey Carson

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, US
About Lindsey
Visiting Scholar and Professorial Lecturer
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Abstract

Over the past few decades, the battle against corruption has emerged as a leading priority on the global development agenda. Countries around the world have designed and implemented a vast array of initiatives to prevent corruption as well as to hold accountable those who engage in corrupt activities. One long-standing but growing trend in the fight against corruption has been the movement toward institutional specialisation. Specifically, governments have established targeted anti-corruption units within existing public institutions or created new centralized agencies or authorities dedicated entirely to anti-corruption efforts. However, while specialisation has become a common strategy to strengthen the ability of governments to monitor, detect, investigate and even prosecute corruption in many countries, the adjudication and punishment of corrupt actors has conventionally remained within the exclusive ambits of traditional judicial and penal systems. This disinclination of countries to establish anti-corruption courts appears particularly puzzling given the particular value that specialisation may provide in the context of the judicial system and its role in the fight against corruption. This article examines the experience of one country that has recently experimented with such an innovative judicial institution, focusing on the Anti- Corruption Division (ACD) of Uganda’s High Court. It analyzes the challenges the ACD has faced and assesses its record on punishing corrupt actors, concluding that resource constraints and political interference, particularly on the part of the executive branch, have undermined the capacity of the Division to have a meaningful impact on the struggle to end impunity and corruption in Uganda.

How to Cite: Carson, L., 2015. Institutional specialisation in the battle against corruption: Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Court. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 3(1), pp.13–25.
Published on 01 Jan 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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