Case Study: The legal status of the Anti Homosexuality Bill in Uganda

Jjuuko, A, Tumwesige, F
Publication date: 
Monday, 9 December, 2013



Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (AHB or the bill) was controversial right from the time of its inception, and its tabling in Uganda’s parliament in October 2009 was both welcomed and vehemently opposed. 

The provisions of the bill pose a threat to the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons in Uganda regardless of their sexual orientation, but far more so for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons.

Beyond the violations of human rights that are envisaged if the bill becomes law, the bill also poses unique questions for lawyers and the legal system as regards its implementation and how it impacts on established principles of law and criminal justice.

This paper analyses the implications of the bill on Uganda’s legal system. It discusses the contents of the AHB, traces its background as well as its current status, analyses the legal issues that are likely to arise if it becomes law, discusses the legal issues that are already arising with the bill still a bill, and finally discusses some of the positive aspects of the bill.

  • The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda contains a number of provisions that, for legal reasons, are nearly impossible to implement. Two examples include:
    1. The difficulty of collecting evidence as there is no 'complainant' for sex between consenting adults;
    2. The punishment is 'disproportionate' under criminal law as there is no vicitm of the 'crime' of homosexuality between consenting adults.
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