Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ugandan M.P. among the civilians on trial before court-martial

Uganda's general court-martial is back in business, with a new case involving 23 defendants, four of whom (including one Member of Parliament) are civilians. From The Independent:
The Court Martial has charged and remanded twenty three suspects including Nakawa Division Member of Parliament Michael Kabaziguruka accused of offenses relating to security and treachery. 
Michael Kabaziguruka and three others have however objected to the jurisdiction of a military court trying them yet they are civilians. Kabaziguruka refused to plead to any charges on this ground in addition to having no defense attorney.
Human rights jurisprudence strongly disfavors the trial of civilians in military courts.

 The Monitor gave this account of the court's swearing in:
The swearing-in of Gen [Andrew] Gutti and 20 new members was presided over by the Deputy Chief of Defence forces, Lt Gen [Charles] Angina, who asked them to exercise diligence in delivery of justice. 
"We are joining together to witness the taking over of leadership at the army court to ensure continuity in the dispensation of justice among members of the armed forces," said Gen Angina adding that Gen Gutti will also remain the commandant of the Senior Command and Staff College at Kimaka in Jinja. "We must know that there is backlog that we must offset and this calls for sacrifice such that more time is allocated to delivery of justice in a timely manner," Gen Angina said.
He asked the court members to desist from accepting offers and persuasion for the court to retain its respect and ensure continuity of high level of discipline in the armed forces.
"Courts are respected but they are grounds for temptations. 
Some of the people under trial have robbed, heavily loaded and willing to give out offers but it is upon you to avoid such. Others will try their best to get linient sentences but let justice be delivered on merit," he said. 
Gen Gutti congratulated members for the appointment but asked the new team members to exercise teamwork, character, attitude, conduct and wisdom in execution of the tasks at hand. 
"What we want is synergy to move together in order to complete the task ahead of us. We have a backlog to offload. The lack of [quorum] for a court sitting ended somewhere because all of us must be present at court. We cannot adjourn for lack of [quorum]," said Gen Gutti warning members against corruption.

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