The Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs and Netherlands have reaffirmed their close partnership in legal training by signing for the continuation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Legal Advisor Programme (LEGAD).
A delegation from Netherlands was hosted at the Ministry headquarters in Mbuya by the Permanent Secretary at the Defence Ministry, Rosette Byengoma, who signed the MoU on behalf of the government of Uganda.
The Ambassador of Netherlands in Uganda, Henk Jan Bakker signed on behalf of Netherlands.
At the same event, Byengoma lauded Netherlands for identifying the legal training gaps within the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) and supporting to fill the vacuum by skilling UPDF personnel in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to address the principles of humanity in situations of armed conflict.
She explained that legal experts from Netherlands have pushed the UPDF legal team to greater heights in terms of dispensing justice and further requested them to continue with the momentum of building capacity in developing countries.
Ambassador Henk Jan Bakker on his part commended the government of Uganda for recognizing the importance of offering further assistance to legal experts so that they can dispense justice in the current changing global environment with ease.
He noted that his country has offered free legal training to both civilians and the military from countries such as Burundi and Rwanda, among others; adding that the training should help participants share different experiences when confronted with threats at whatever level.
Ambassador Bakker further noted that Netherlands will gradually hand over its legal training tasks and responsibilities to UPDF as a way of building trust and confidence to enrich the UPDF professionalism agenda.
“The visibility of legal training enhances cooperation when dispensing justice most especially in Peace Support Operations,” said Ambassador Bakker.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi appreciated all the support from Netherlands to the UPDF, most especially in the field of legal training, saying that having the right legal skills is critical when dealing with asymmetrical threats.
Gen Muhoozi remarked that offering training and re-training in legal formalities to UPDF legal experts will enhance their capacity to cope with opportunities that handle peace and security.
He requested the Netherlands Government to extend its support to UPDF operations most especially in the field of training and equipment so that missions like the African Union Mission in Somalia can realize their dreams.
“If we harness the support from all our partners, we shall realize all our dreams,” said Gen Muhoozi.
The meeting was also attended by Brig Gen (Rtd) Jan Peter Spijk, Prof Fausto Pocar, Prof Dr Marjoleine Zieck and the UPDF Joint Chief of Staff (JCOS) Maj Gen Joseph Musanyuffu, among others.