KAMPALA –The burial of the late Justice Stella Arach Amoko, earlier planned for June 23, 2023 was suspended indefinitely on Thursday, Chief Registrar Sarah Langa Siu announced, citing ‘factors beyond the judiciary’s control.’
The Justice Stella Arach Amoko died in Kampala on June 17 and her remains were due to be buried this Friday.
“This is to inform you that due to factors beyond our control, the burial of the late honourable Justice Stella Arach Amoko – Justice of the Supreme Court, will not take place on Friday, June 23, 2023 as had been planned,” read in parts – the letter addressed to all Justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Judges of the High Court, Deputy Registrars, Assistant Registrars, Chief Magistrates, Magistrates Grade one and two and all the staff of the Judiciary.
The turn of events followed the High Court in Kampala’s ordering of the Attorney General and Ambassador James Idule Amoko to file their defence in the case in which the late’s biological children are contesting her planned burial in Adjumani District.
Family Division Judge, Ketra Kitarisiibwa Katunguka issued the order on Thursday – promising that that the case shall be heard on Friday by oral testimony.
Both the Attorney General and Ambassador Amoko were not present in court neither represented.
The order follows an application in which three of Arach’s children Yossa Annette, Emmanuel Komakech, and Jackie Amony, and their Uncle Godfrey Picho and Aunt Christine Onyok who are the siblings of the deceased sued the Government and Ambassador Amoko.
The suit filed this afternoon came after the two families disagreed on where to bury the deceased. The deceased’s husband wants her buried in Adjumani District while the children prefer Nebbi District.
The burial had earlier been scheduled for Friday, but it was halted after the Judiciary Chief Registrar Sarah Langa Siu issued a statement indicating that the date has been postponed until further notice.
In the application, the applicants through their lawyers led by Pius Katumba Busobozi and Stanley Okecho are seeking an order restraining the Government and Amoko from receiving, transporting, and burying the body of the deceased in Adjumani District.
They also want the court to be authorized to receive, transport, and bury their mother at her family/ancestral home burial ground at Jukiga Hill Ward, Juba Village, Nebbi District in accordance with the customary law of ker kwaro Kaal Jonam.
In the alternative, the children are saying if the Government and Ambassador go-ahead to bury their mother in Adjumani, they should be authorized to exhume and rebury the body of their late mother in a place of her choice in Nebbi.
The evidence before Court shows that when Arach was in the hospital, she called her sister Onyok and brother Picho and expressed to them her wish to be buried in Nebbi district at her ancestral home.
“The judiciary had earlier been misguided to publicly announce Adjumani as the final resting place of our mother. We pray that we are allowed to grieve and heal in peace through this funeral of our mother. “, reads the affidavit of one of Yossa.
The family asserts that the children have no connection to Adjumani, their paternal ancestral home, and have never been introduced to the place or shown any land or property there.
On another note, Kaal Ker Kwaro Jonam Kapita, the cultural institution of the Jonam, released a June 19, 2023, statement to the judiciary stating that Justice Arach should be laid to rest at the royal burial grounds at Kaal Ragem in Pakwach district.
They urged the judiciary to respect Amoko’s wish to be buried next to her father in Nebbi.
Sources revealed that the decision to bury Justice Arach in Adjumani was made during a meeting at the President’s office, from which the children and relatives claim they were excluded.
Other sources revealed that contending parties had, on Wednesday met with the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among to resolve the burial place issue but nothing came out – save for the Ugx20m condolence fee from the same office.