Parliament on Wednesday eulogized departed Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko, the Supreme Court Judge and former Judge of the East African Court of Justice. Lady Justice Arach breathed her last on 17 June 2023 from Nakasero Hospital in Kampala after being in the sick bay for eight months.
The casket containing her remains arrived at Parliament at noon and received Speaker Anita Among and later rolled to the House’s lobby to lay in State. Hundreds of mourners including former legislators, government officials, religious leaders, family, relatives, and friends thronged Parliament’s lobby to view her body before it was rolled into the Chambers for a special sitting of the House that commenced at 2:10 pm. Robinah Nabbanja, the Prime Minister and the leader of Government business in Parliament moved a motion to eulogize Justice Arach, 69, describing her professional legal career as spanning 40 years between 1979 and 2010. Speaking to her motion, Premier Nabbanja recognized Justice Arach for a faultless career, and champion of justice whose tenure as head of the Commercial Court advocated for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and framing of the intellectual property law among others.
John Baptist Nambeshe, the Manjiya County Representative in Bududa District who seconded the motion and spoke on behalf of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament said Justice Arach will be remembered for her landmark judgments that have laid a strong foundation for electoral jurisprudence in Uganda.
Justice Arach’s landmark judgments included the election petition cases involving Francis Babu Vs Electoral Commission and Erias Lukwago in 2006, Muyanja Mbabali Vs Mathias Birekerawo Nsubuga and Electoral Commission in 2011, and the infamous 2015 ‘rebel’ legislators; Wilfred Nuwagaba (Ndorwa East), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga West), Mohammed Nsereko (Kampala Central Division, and Theodore Ssekikubo of Lwemiyaga County. David Livingstone Zijjan, another seconder to the motion and Dean of the Independent Members of Parliament described Justice Arach for exhibiting rare attributes of listening to the ordinary citizens with respect which postured her as a mother of the judiciary.
Cue out: …generations after her.”// Section 23, Paragraph 11 of Schedule 3 of the Administration of Judiciary Act, 2022 requires Parliament to pay tribute to a fallen judge of the Supreme Court. The deceased Jurist becomes the third high-ranking judicial officer to pass on after Justice Kenneth Kakuru of the Court of Appeal and Justice Rubby Opio Aweri of the Supreme Court. Late Lady Justice Arach was married to Ambassador James Idule Amoko, and the couple is survived by four children. Her body will leave Parliament on Thursday for Adjumani District where she will be laid to rest. The jurist is an old girl from Ambalal Primary School in Lira, Sacred Heart SS in Gulu, Mt. St. Mary’s College Namagunga, Makerere University, Law Development Centre, and the International Judges Academy University in Israel.
The deceased jurist began her career as; State Attorney, Senior State Attorney, Commissioner for Civil Litigation, Judge of the High Court, Judge of the East African Court of Justice, Deputy Principal Judge to the East African Court of Justice, Court of Appeal Justice, and Supreme Court Judge. She served as Chairperson of the Law Development Centre – LDC Management Committee, served as Chairperson of the Judicial Training Institute, Chairperson of the Senior Counsel Committee, Chairperson of the Judiciary Monitoring Committee, and a member of the Judicial Service Commission. Justice Arach served as President of the National Association of Women Judges, an executive member of the Uganda Magistrates and Judges Association, a member of the Federation of Women Lawyers – FIDA, Vice Secretary of the East African Magistrates and Judges Association, and a Board Member of Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief. Further, she was a member of the Law Council, represented the Attorney General on the National Medical Stores and Uganda Pharmacy Board, Chairperson of the Legal Aid Clinic Advisory Board Law Development Centre.