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Ugandan Teen Convicted for Sexually Assaulting a 3-year-old

Through the collaborative efforts of IJM Uganda and the local police, justice prevailed when the 19-year-old man was arrested for sexually abusing 3-year-old Kevinah*. Following his arrest on July 17, 2023, the case swiftly proceeded to Gulu High Court. On July 26, 2023, the perpetrator pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated defilement leading to a conviction based on his admission. As a result, he was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment. This successful and swift outcome underscores the importance of partnership in ensuring accountability and safeguarding communities against crime.

On March 6, 2023, 3-year-old Kevinah* was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old man, who is a close family member. The perpetrator lured Kevinah and two other children to go with him to fetch water from the stream. Along the way, he asked the two children to go ahead to the stream while he remained behind with Kevinah. He then took her to a nearby bush where he abused her.

Kevinah’s aunt witnessed the assault. IJM Uganda supported the police in carrying out investigations and made follow-ups to ensure that the investigating officer sent the file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) for sanctioning.

Through collaborating with the police on cases, IJM experts gain a better understanding of the obstacles that our partners encounter when building cases. This enables IJM to offer training and support in areas such as documenting evidence in a way that will be admissible in court, clarifying our partners' role in responding to crimes and providing them with the appropriate resources to conduct thorough investigations that can produce sufficient evidence for successful prosecution.

The perpetrator was arrested and on July 17, 2023, he was committed to Gulu High Court for trial. He pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated defilement on July 26, 2023, and was convicted on his plea of guilt. He was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment.

IJM Uganda also offered aftercare support for the victim and her family.

IJM Legal Coordinator in Gulu, Ms. Florence Lora Atim, acknowledges the commitment of justice actors and the resilience of family members to pursue justice and ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence are held accountable. “The lesson from this case is that the ODPP and the Court do not compromise on plea bargain sentences when it comes to sexual assault victims of tender age. Some families too do not compromise cases or protect perpetrators who are family members,” says Ms. Atim.


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*To protect IJM survivors, we have used pseudonyms.

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