Kampala — Five people who were convicted over murder in connection with the 2014 murders in Kasese District have been set free by the appeal army court.
In 2015, the court martial sentenced to 25 years imprisonment a group of eleven people who were convicted of murder, unlawful use of military weapons and causing harm to the innocent people over Rwenzori ethnic attacks.
However, Court martial Court of Appeal last evening ordered for the release of five people; Mumbere Julius, Kisuki Joseph, Sowedi Bwambale, Robert Baluku and Sunlight Bwambale.
The three member panel chaired by Mr Elly Turyamubona, ruled that there were inconsistencies in the prosecution evidence against the quintet.
However, court ruled that the evidence which was produced during the trial only pinned the six people; Masereka Asuman, Baluku Robert aka Liverpool, Yeremiya Kikamba, Asiimwe Mpaka Shadrack and Mohammed Kibolerya.
Mr Turyamubona ordered that the six must serve the penalty as directed by the lower court.
The eleven people had appealed to the court martial appeal court challenging both sentence and conviction on grounds arguing that the General Court Martial had no jurisdiction to try them since they were civilians.
Through their lawyer, Sibendire Tayebwa from Center for Legal Aid had also challenged the court for considering evidence from the scene of crime it never physically visited thereby contravening Article 28 (5) of the constitution.
They also told the appeal court the evidence was full of inconsistencies and hence prosecution did not prove charges against them beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.
Mr Turyamubona ruled that Section 119(1) of the UPDF Act provides that a person can be tried in the court martial on accusations of using guns of which the army has monopoly to control.
"Possession of fire arms was proved by the prosecution witnesses therefore court had jurisdiction to try the appellants," court ruled.
Court records show that the eleven were among the 57 people who were arrested for attacking policemen guarding a weigh bridge along Kasese-Mbarara High way in Kasese District in July 2014.
Court heard that during the attack the group was armed with spears and machetes among weapons.