Justice is the baseline for civilised democracy and development. Without it, the rule of law collapses and we cannot expect to live in peaceful, inclusive societies.
But those who need justice most are least likely to gain access to it. And those with lived experience within the justice system are least likely to be heard.
Ahead of World Day for International Justice on Saturday 17 July 2021, we asked our trained paralegals in prisons across Kenya, The Gambia and Uganda what justice means to them.
“Having a right to all that is needed to allow one to live their full potential.” Susan Milka Gachoki, 51. Paralegal prisoner at Thika Women’s Prison, Kenya.
“Every individual should be treated equally before the law.” Tida S. Kuyaieh, 26. Paralegal prison officer at Mile II Prison, The Gambia.
“The quality of being just, rightfulness, equitableness or moral rights." Victor Muindi Mutuku, 35. Paralegal prisoner at Machakos Main Prison, Kenya.
“A concept of moral righteousness based on ethics, rationality, fairness in religion.” Phionah Namubiru, 27. Paralegal prisoner at Kagadi Prison, Uganda.
“Fairness, fair play, impartiality, equality in dealing with people, treating people equally according to the rule of law.” Hellen Nayiga, 42. Paralegal prisoner at Luzira Women Prison, Uganda.
“The fair treatment of everyone.” Terrick Bright, 36. Paralegal at Mile II Prison, The Gambia.
"The fair and quality treatment of people." Frederick Makau Kasia, 33. Paralegal prisoner at Machakos Main Prison, Kenya.
“A seven letter word that will remain just that. Unless the humanity in us brings it out through our thoughts and actions to every situation." Phillip Mueke. Paralegal registrar at Kamiti Prison, Kenya.
A fair trial…
“Prevalence of my rights. Handling any other person as human, through a fair trial and judgement.” Abdallah Manshoor, 40. Paralegal prisoner at Remand Prison Kampala, Uganda.
“Timely and fair hearing of cases in the courts of law”. Prosscovia Atim, 35. Paralegal prison officer at Luzira Women Prison, Uganda.
“The ideal of fairness, impartiality, especially regarding punishment of wrongdoing.” Landing Sanyang, 31. Paralegal prisoner at Mile II Prison, The Gambia.
“Truthfulness achieved after solving a certain issue. Whereby an amicable solution is acquired, either to the complainant or a person wrongly accused without partisanship." Lazarus Mbuvi Muia, 43. Paralegal prisoner Machakos Main Prison, Kenya.
“A moral context, where everyone is treated fairly, and in a balanced manner without prejudice. Legally it means where a person who gets into conflict with the law is accorded a fair, speedy trial before an impartial tribunal established by law.” Joseph Ekusai, Court Clerk at Justice Defenders and PLE, Uganda.
“Fair treatment and right against someone who has a case either accused or complainant.” Emmanuel Ssekate, 54. Paralegal prison officer at Kagadi Prison, Uganda.
“A fair way of dealing with people or something. It differs in every culture. The principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes ‘deserving’ being impacted by many differing viewpoints and perspectives, including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness.” Miriam Okurut Popoi, 43. Released paralegal, Uganda.
The rule of law…
“Administration of the law in a fair and reasonable way.” Landing Sonko. Paralegal prisoner at Mile II Prison, The Gambia.
“Achieving what one deserves, the rule of law.” Joseph Karanja, 51. Released paralegal prisoner, now Justice Defenders’ Assistant Legal Officer, Kenya.
“A concept of law that makes people behave in a way that’s fair, equal and balanced for everyone.” Ivan Pepe Matovu, 24. Released paralegal from Luzira Remand Prison, Uganda.
“Fair trial in the process of hearing cases for both parties. Justice must prevail and be seen to be done in order to protect everyone’s right.” Solomon Balale, 34. Paralegal prisoner at Remand Prison Kampala, Uganda.
“The application of the law to both the complainant and the defendant to ensure that fairness and quality is achieved." Julius K. Alex, 39. Paralegal prisoner at Machakos Main Prison, Kenya.
Justice Defenders' work
By equipping justice defenders within defenceless communities – through legal education, training, and practice – we help ensure a just legal process and fair hearings.
Improved application of criminal law creates a ripple effect across the entire justice system. This means the law is upheld and every person has equal access to legal representation. As a result, societies begin to experience increased stability and security, improved livelihoods, and economic development. Find out more about our work.