Tribute to a Hero

Earlier today, Uganda laid to rest one of its true heroes – a prosecutor slain for doing her job.  At the memorial service, she was remembered as one who did her job “without fear or favour.”  Her life motto was “Live every day, love every day, love beyond words.”

Joan-Kagezi-in-court (1)

In his eulogy today, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mike Chibita, mentioned the tributes to Joan that have poured in from around the world this week, including the one from Pepperdine.  Here is the text:

“Justice Chibita,

Our community was blessed just over a year ago to welcome Joan into the Pepperdine University family during her visit here in Malibu, California.  On behalf of that Pepperdine family, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Joan’s loved ones, her dear and adoring colleagues at the Department of Public Prosecutions, and to the entire practicing bar and judiciary of Uganda.  As a result of this senseless act of cowardice, the world today has one less champion fighting for the cause of justice, and those of us who were privileged to know Joan have one less faithful friend.

While Joan’s earthly work in pursuit of truth of justice has reached its end, Joan now resides with the heavenly author of all truth and the dispenser of all justice.  Nothing would be a more fitting tribute to Joan’s life and legacy than for her work here on earth to be carried on with the same passion and integrity she so beautifully modeled for us all.

Those who carried out this evil deed, and those whom Joan was in the process of bringing to justice, must not prevail.  Just as Joan held her head high and refused to blink in the face of evil, so, too, will those who follow in her broad and deep footsteps.  Though the struggle between good and evil rages on, we know how the battle will ultimately end.  We know that good will prevail because we have a Savior who has gone before us and secured our victory.

Joan has fought the good fight, and she has run the race set out before her with perseverance and grace.  Though it is far too early, we know that Joan has achieved the prize.  The Creator of the universe is waiting to receive her, and He will greet her with these simple words: “Well done good and faithful servant.”

With overflowing hearts of sorrow and love,



Jim Gash

Global Justice Program Director

Pepperdine University School of Law

2 replies
  1. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    A terrible tragedy, the loss of a great prosecutor. I hope that her good work continues and that the perpetrators are someday punished.


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