24 August 2016

Uganda: Military Court Unconstitutional - Nakawa MP

Kampala — Nakawa MP Michael Kabaziguruka has said the General Court Martial is unconstitutional for lack of a mechanism for fair hearing.

"The offence of treachery we are charged with is infiltrating the UPDF Act where prosecution is the UPDF and we are tried by the UPDF. So there is no evidence of fair hearing," Mr Kabaziguruka said.

Mr Kabaziguruka and 23 others, including soldiers, are on remand for alleged plot to overthrow the government. He appeared before the Makindye based military court where he made submissions challenging the army court's power to try him saying the offences against him are political in nature.

"The UPDF Commander-in-Chief appoints the panel and it is President Museveni to whom all the court members swear to obey as the Commander-in-Chief. I object to the UPDF picking me from Kigo Prison to this court for trial because I do not expect a fair hearing in this case," Mr Kabaziguruka said.

Mr Kabaziguruka was joined by four other suspects, Mr Musa Lutwama, Assistant Inspector of Police; Obulejo Ferdinand of Counter Terrorism at Naguru, Namara Freddrick and Felix Eluge, who through their lawyer, Maj. Asha Patra argued that they are being tried before a wrong court.

According to Maj Patra, the accused persons are not subject to military law because they are civilians who should be remanded to civilian prisons. "The particulars of the offence do not define what the accused persons did, where they did it from and how they aided persons subject to military law to prejudice the security of the country," the lawyer asking for release of her clients said.

However, Prosecutor Maj Raphael Mugisha described the arguments as a mixture of issues.

He asked the court to desist from entertaining arguments by Mr Kabaziguruka until they are addressed by the High Court while others raised by Maj Patra shall be argued with evidence at the trial.


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