Attack and robbery of Ugandan environmental and human rights lawyer Kato Tumusiime
2 juli 2024

Attack and robbery of Ugandan environmental and human rights lawyer Kato Tumusiime


Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) expresses concerns about the attack on Ugandan environmental and human rights lawyer Kato Tumusiime which occurred on April 17th 2024, and its implications for environmental lawyers’ ability to carry out their work free from unjust intervention. 

As a committed lawyer working with the non-governmental organization Youth for Green Communities, Kato Tumusiime supports and represents communities at risk of displacement due to the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).  

On 17 April 2024, Mr. Tumusiime was attacked by three men and robbed of his court files, laptop and phones. The attack happened while he was on his way to court to represent student activists of the ‘StopEACOP’ campaign, who had been arrested in 2023 while delivering a petition to the speaker of parliament regarding the continued human rights and environmental abuses suffered by communities from oil-producing regions and caused by the EACOP project.  

Two days prior to being attacked, on April 15th, Mr. Tumusiime had attended a peaceful community demonstration in front of the Hoima High Court calling on the court to review community land cases in which families were faced with eviction so as to further the development of oil infrastructure by TotalEnergies. As one of the lawyers representing these landowners, Mr. Tumusiime also appeared before the media and commented on the unconstitutional nature of the government’s compulsory land acquisition.  

L4L expresses serious concern over Mr. Tumusiime’s safety and ability to carry out his legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals or physical violence. Lawyers for Lawyers reminds of States’ obligations under the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, notably, their duty to ensure that lawyers can carry out their work without intimidation, hindrance, or harassment and to take immediate action to provide protection if a lawyer’s security is threatened as a result of his professional activities, as specified in Principle 16. L4L further emphasizes that Principle 23 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states that “lawyers, like any other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights.” 

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