The British High Commission together with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) on Monday launched a Virtual Prosecutors’ Academy, to enhance skills among public and private prosecutors.

The Virtual Prosecutors’ Academy was launched by Mr Phillip Smith – Development Director at the British High Commission to enhance the competencies and knowledge of Prosecutors through regular training, to enable them to discharge their prosecutorial duties more effectively.

The Virtual Academy is an online platform through which legal induction courses, advocacy courses and other appropriate courses will be administered to Prosecutors.

Evolve set it up – Foundation for International Legal Assistance (Evolve- FILA) with funding from Advocates for International Development’s (A41D) ROLE UK programme, which itself is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

It was considered practical and efficient to deliver training through an online platform that Prosecutors can access anywhere, provided they have a reliable internet connection, pending the establishment of a physical Academy.

Evolve – FILA’s Programme Director and barrister Mr Alex Bennie, designed and set up the platform. Attending virtually from the UK along with Evolve’s Executive Director Tanya Murshed, he said “this online training platform represents a significant increase of ODPP capabilities in Uganda, which will no longer be restricted by the limitations of physical training.”

It is envisaged that the online training platform will instil and impart relevant skills, competencies and knowledge to Prosecutors for the day-to-day discharge of duties, offer a platform to induct and train newly recruited/delegated Attorneys, enable Prosecutors to regularly refresh their knowledge and skills by consulting legal resource material or undertaking refresher courses.

The platform will also accommodate any other customized courses. Moreover, the training material will still be valuable in the likely event that a physical academy is established.

Mr Smith said, “I believe that the Virtual Prosecutors’ Academy will play a vital role in the improvement of professional skills, and potentially broaden job-based specialization in tackling crime for improved business climate and law and order.”

He further said, “Your role as Prosecutors is vital in this. And we hope that the Virtual Academy will provide inclusive access to learning for Prosecutors wherever they are in Uganda and that will help maximize the impact of the ODPP as a core institution in Uganda.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo said, “We do not at the moment have the infrastructure, equipment and budget to set up a physical academy, prosecutors are spread across the country and a virtual Academy offers a platform to train them remotely and they can also access the legal material at a pace which is convenient to them in their schedules, and the world over, organizations are adapting to advancements in digital technology and so the online platform is in tandem with the learning and training trends.”

The pioneer group of Prosecutors at the Academy starts training today on the pilot programme. They will be facilitated by Mr Alex Bennie and Ms Marianne Alton, a criminal barrister and Trustee of Evolve – FILA.

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