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Center for Animal Law Studies

Thomas Jatiko

  • Natasha Dolezal

Kampala, Uganda

Animal Law LLM ’19

Thomas is a recipient of our International Advocates Animal Law LLM Scholarship from Uganda where he has practiced criminal law since 2004. He is currently on study leave from his position as the Principle State Attorney in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions particularly in the International Crimes Division. In this role, Thomas is responsible for all international, transnational and organized crime including terrorism, war crimes, human trafficking, genocide and crimes against humanity. His work requires close collaboration and assistance from jurisdictions across the world. 

Thomas received his Bachelor of Laws (Honors) LLB (2001), Master of Laws LLM (2015) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Justice PGD SJ (2016) all from Makerere University in Uganda. He was part of the prosecution team responsible for the successful prosecution of the 15 accused persons responsible for the 2010 Kampala twin bombing case in which over 76 people of diverse nationalities lost their lives. This case achieved multiple life sentence convictions and was subsequently given due recognition by the International Bar Association. This work has seen him come close to security threats over time.

He has also dealt with several extraditions involving persons engaging in illegal wildlife trade across the globe. It’s on this basis that he decided to pursue an Animal Law LLM at Lewis & Clark in order to broaden his knowledge and gain expert training from the only law school offering a specialized advanced degree in the world. He is also writing his LLM thesis on “The Capacities of Wildlife Legal Frameworks: The Case of South Sudan.” With this work, he hopes to understand to what extent any external actors (e.g. international wildlife legal frameworks) can help compensate for weak domestic institutions in order to combat the wildlife crimes in South Sudan, the youngest nation in the world.

When Thomas returns home to Uganda, he hopes to further harness the legal knowledge and skills gained to address illegal wildlife trade, crimes, and conservation efforts focused on law enforcement mechanisms. He also plans to offer his vast prosecutorial skills and expertise to help combat wildlife crimes linked to terrorism as some of the proceeds are used to finance terrorist activities.

“The professors at Lewis and Clark and the Center for Animal Law Studies have greatly impacted my perception of non-human animals. I am proud to be the first Ugandan to specialize in animal law and join the growing network of animal law attorneys in Africa and worldwide. My favorite quote I have learnt through a reading of various American Supreme Court cases adjudicated and articulated by the learned Justices on the question of standing for animals is “We know it when we see it.” Therefore the time is now and it begins with you and me.”