The Constitutional Court in Kampala has scheduled December 18, 2023, as the start date for hearings in 23 consolidated petitions challenging the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. A panel of five justices will be named tomorrow to preside over the case.
Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire has set the hearing dates for the petitions, which seek, among other things, to strike down a constitutional provision criminalizing “consensual sex among adults,” as termed by activists.
“We are almost there; the question of amicus application is also outstanding. If you had agreed with the amicus rules, the court should have already admitted them. The outstanding withdrawn files should and any other issues be filed today (Monday) and prepare yourselves for a full hearing on December 18 while the amicus application will be heard on Wednesday,” Justice Kiryabwire said.
The petitioners include West Budama MP Fox Odoi, Uganda’s Ambassador to South Africa Kintu Nyango, veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda, Makerere University Law Professors Sylvia Tamale and Businye Kabumba, and several civil society organizations.
The petitions further argue that the Anti-Homosexuality Act infringes on several constitutional articles guaranteeing personal freedoms and dignity, as well as hindering the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, the Court will hear an application filed by Pastor Martin Ssempa who is seeking to join the Attorney General in defending the Anti-Homosexuality law.
Bishop James Lubega Bbale, on the other hand, is requesting to be joined as a necessary party to challenge the Anti-Homosexuality Act for discriminating against “God’s people.”
Additionally, UNAIDS seeks to be joined as a friend of the court to provide relevant information demonstrating why the law should be overturned due to its detrimental impact on HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.