With reference to the Black’s Law Dictionary a judicial officer is a person who holds an office of trust, authority or command. Judicial officers such as judges and magistrates have discretion to decide on cases they wish to handle however they are limited to Jurisdiction. There are three types of jurisdictions and they are; Territorial jurisdiction, Local jurisdiction and power to try cases.
Firstly, in accordance to territorial jurisdiction, section 4(1) of the penal code cap120 lays down the extent of the jurisdiction of the courts of Uganda. It should be noted that the general rule under this section is simply that the jurisdiction of Ugandan courts is confined to crimes committed within the territory of Uganda. Section 4(2) provides exceptions stipulated in s.23, 24, 25, 27 and 28 of the penal code committed by a Ugandan outside Uganda. Such as Treason, acts intended to annoy the person of the President, concealment of treason, terrorism, promoting of war on chiefs and many others.
It should be noted however that under international law, there is no restriction on the competence of the court to prosecute its own nationals for crimes committed outside its territorial jurisdiction if this right to national jurisdiction is conferred by statute.
In Uganda vs Mustapha Atama 1975 HCB 254, where the accused a Kampala business man was charged in the chief magistrate’s court with obtaining money by false pretence contrary to section 9 of the PCA cap 106 now cap 120. The prosecution alleged that the accused while in the republic of Zaire obtained shs. 3360/- from the charge-d’ affaires of the Ugandan embassy by falsely pretending that he required the money for the maintenance of eight Ugandan soldiers who