The judiciary has held a special session in honor of the late Supreme Court Judge, Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko.
Amoko died on Saturday at Nakasero Hospital aged 69 years. She was left with only one year to retire from the Judiciary where she had served for 26 years. She spent 18 years at Attorney General’s Chambers.
But in usual precedent, the Chief Justice who is the official head of the Supreme Court was nowhere to be seen at the event, yet other top Judicial officers were present physically and online.
Sources told this publication that the Chief Justice is unwell having undergone an operation whose type they couldn’t clearly tell.
The Chief Justice was last seen in a public event while officiating at the launch of Mukono High Court on May 11th, 2023.
Information that couldn’t be independently verified indicates that the Chief Justice is getting treatment in the United States of America.
Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera presided over the session representing Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo who is reportedly out of the country.
Justice, Buteera told the mourners that Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has been out of the country for the last three weeks for treatment.
But in the speech read by Justice Richard Buteera, Justice Owiny-Dollo said that it was painful that he hasn’t been able to see the send-off of Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko.
The deceased being one of the most senior Judges at the Supreme Court has been sitting on the left side of the Chief Justice during the Court’s proceedings.
Owiny-Dollo said the death of Stella Arach Amoko is a big blow to the Judiciary. Her death came hardly six months after the death of Justice Rubby Opio Aweri. Justice Rubby Opio Awere also sat on the Supreme Court. The judiciary also lost Constitutional Court Judge, Kenneth Kakuru this year.
“Their untimely demise in quick succession is a tragedy of monumental proportion for the Judiciary family and the country at large. Lady Justice Stella was a most dependable person, an Administrator of the Supreme Court who promoted harmony and collegiality. She exuded and exhibited admirable judicial temperament. Her death is a big blow to the Judiciary family and to me personally,” said Chief Justice in a speech read by Justice Richard Buteera.
A special Court session was chaired by Supreme Court Judge Faith Mwondha to celebrate 44 years of Stella Arach Amoko’s distinguished service in the judicial Service.
At the ceremony, Arach’s husband now widower Ambassador Idule Amoko described her as a loving and devoted wife and that they had a lot of respect for one another because she was a faithful partner.
“My wife was ever cheerful, I had never seen her lose her temper. Stella was a person very committed to her work which she did seven days a week,” Amoko said.
According to Amoko, Stella Arach was a very incorruptible Judicial Officer and because of that character, she faced a lot of challenges.
He has appreciated the Judiciary for the support extended to the family during her illness and even in her death.
The President of Uganda Law Society, Bernard Oundo said that Arach’s professional journey from Attorney General’s chambers to the Supreme Court in 2013 reminds them as lawyers of patience while pursuing their dream.
Judicial Service Commission Chairperson, Justice Benjamin Kabiito said Stella Arach was a colleague and a friend to all of them and she strongly advocated for the Judiciary to work in harmony with the Judicial Service Commission.
The Principal Judge Dr. Flavian Zeija told mourners that the deceased was candid and objective, always guided by facts and the law in her decisions.
According to Zeija, it was during the tenure of the Late Justice Arach Amoko as the Head of the High Court Commercial Division that strategies such as mediation and arbitration were introduced at High Court Commercial Division.
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka has described the deceased as a Judge who was always humble, courteous, and soft-spoken but very firm.
“She would put her point across without raising her voice. She had a very good grasp of the law and the rules having risen in the ranks from being a State Attorney to the Supreme Court. She was always motherly and guided counsel politely,” said Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
The sorrowful session was attended by several dignitaries, including advocates, judicial officers, and government officials members of the family among others both physically and online.